DC -- Donald W. Reynolds Center (SAAM) -- Exhibit: The Automobile and American Art:
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- Description of Pictures: The Automobile and American Art
September 18, 2020 – Indefinitely
What could be more American than the car? From drive-ins to road trips on the open highway—cars are an essential part of American culture.
Since the birth of the automobile, cars have also been a central theme in American art, from the paintings of William H. Johnson, which highlight the perils of driving in segregated America, to the large fiberglass sculptures of Luis Jiménez, which evoke lowrider car culture. Some artists, such as sculptor David Smith, incorporated techniques they learned working on auto assembly lines into their art. Others, including Edward Hopper and Georgia O’Keeffe, used their cars as mobile studios.
The Smithsonian American Art Museum’s collection includes hundreds of artworks featuring cars. Albert H. Small’s prolific collection of model cars, a gift to the museum, provides a unique lens through which to explore these works and the role of the automobile in American art.
A selection of 100 model cars is on display on the third floor, near SAAM’s Luce Foundation Center for American Art.
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- Specific picture descriptions: Photos above with "i" icons next to the bracketed sequence numbers (e.g. " ") are described as follows:
- AUTOM_201015_06.JPG: Preamble, 1987
In a show of ingenuity, Mike Wilkins used a collection of vanity license plates to phonetically spell out the preamble of the US Constitution, combining letters and numbers in a way often used by drivers to convey messages about themselves or their cars on vanity plates. All fifty states and the District of Columbia are represented with plates, which are in alphabetical order by state name. Though most of the plates make no sense on their own, together they re-create text from one of the greatest documents in American history. This work puts a fun twist on the phrase, "the United States."
- AUTOM_201015_14.JPG: The Automobile and American Art
What do you collect?
Collectors are driven by their own unique passions, from American art to model cars. Often a collection begins with one special object. Share an image of a favorite work in SAAM's collection that might inspire a collection of your own, using #atSAAM .
- AUTOM_201015_52.JPG: "For what you really collect is always yourself."
-- Jean Baudrillard, French philosopher (1929-2007)
- AUTOM_201015_64.JPG: The Automobile and American Art
What could be more American than the car?
From drive-ins to road trips on the open highway -- cars are an essential part of American culture.
Since the birth of the automobile, cars have also been a central theme in American art, from the paintings of William H. Johnson, which highlights the perils of driving in segregated America, to the large fiberglass sculptures of Luis Jimenez, which evoke lowrider car culture.
Some artists, such as sculptor David Smith, incorporated techniques they learned working on auto assembly lines into their art. Others, including Edward Hopper and Georgia O'Keeffe, used their cars as mobile studios.
The Smithsonian American Art Museum's collection includes hundreds of artworks featuring cars. Albert H. Small's prolific collection of model cars, a gift to the museum, provides a unique lens through which to explore these works and the role of the automobile in American art.
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- Photo Contact: [Email Bruce Guthrie].