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T+L Reports: Free Radicals

In the San Francisco of 1968, two young architects, Chip Lord and Doug Michels, set out to establish what they called underground architecture. Enlisting the help of friends and colleagues Curtis Schreier, Hudson Marquez, and Doug Hurr, they formed Ant Farm, a radical art collective that attracted the attention (and financial support) of everyone from Robin Williams to Rockefeller Foundation director Howard Kline. During its 10-year life span, Ant Farm produced sculpture (10 Cadillacs partially buried nose-down along Texas's Route 66 for Cadillac Ranch, 1974), performance art (Media Burn, 1975), and "built environments" (the cement, bubble-shaped House of the Century, 1971-73) and even engaged in dolphin research. Now, 25 years after the group disbanded (and just seven months after Michels died, in June 2003), the Berkeley Art Museum has organized the first Ant Farm retrospective. A visual time line of blueprints, publications, drawings, collages, video clips, and architectural models, Ant Farm 1968-1978 (January 21-April 26) reveals a decade of artistic mayhem and the cultural and physical landscape that spawned it.
—Andrew Wagner

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