The exhibition explores the diversity of artists’ views of the automobile as expressed in their works
The trend of portraying automobiles picked up speed in the post-World War II years and blossomed in Pop Art circles. Andy Warhol, who did not know how to drive, used the car as a model in his works, in particular in a series of silkscreens based on photographs of car accidents. One of these prints was sold at auction for $100 million. Warhol also contributed to the fashion of “art-cars”, abstract spots painted on racing cars which, according to the artist’s idea, at high speeds produced the image of speed, adrenalin and feeling.
Many of the works in the exhibition were created in the last few decades, in a period during which the attitude to the automobile has been changing, amid growing criticism of the automobile’s shortcomings: pollution, danger, congestion. The French sculptor Arman piled sixty cars one upon the other and poured cement of the pile, calling the work “Long-term Parking”. Cesar, in his series of crushed and destroyed cars, shows the viewer how quickly the automobile is transformed from an object of desire into a heap of scrap metal – which, however, is not devoid of a certain aesthetic, as in the work of the Israeli artist Ron Arad, who flattened six cars with an industrial press for his installation “Pressed flowers”.
The exhibition, built from the unique research collection of Mihail Chemiakin, demonstrates many ways in which the automobile is portrayed in art. The research is complemented by original works by contemporary artists, in a juried supplement to the exhibition.