A throbbing engine under the hood, but the open highway in the windshield. America, I offer you the best in Americana! The automobile as the Number One popular symbol of genuine American culture on display in “Life Is a Highway: Art and American Car Culture”. The show is on June 15-Sept. 15, 2019, at the Toledo Museum of Art. The exhibition features 125-135 works of art. Wide varieties of media include sculpture, paintings, drawings, prints, and photography. The exhibit includes presentations native to the Toledo Museum of Art. But, important shared pieces from other institutions across North America arrive every couple of days, as well.
This exhibit is the one in the United States featuring inclusive and historical overviews of artists inspired by American car culture. Life is a Highway provides a collaboration point for 20th-Century artists. They chronicled the role of the car in shaping American attitudes. These attitudes were toward the car itself, but also toward the landscape, and about self-expression.
Life Is a Highway is curated by Robin Reisenfeld, Ph.D. He is TMA’s works on paper curator.
Spokespeople for the Toledo Museum of Art had this to say about Life is a Highway.
“Located in one of the nation’s and the Midwest’s leading manufacturing centers, The Toledo Museum of Art is uniquely positioned to organize this groundbreaking look at the impact and iconography of the automobile in American visual culture. TMA serves as the art centerpiece of Toledo’s thriving cultural community, and Life Is A Highway continues the Museum’s sustained commitment to engaging our visitors in new and creative ways through our exhibitions and educational offerings.”
It was the key element of the postwar boom economy. The automobile became the 20th-Century’s symbol of renewal, freedom, independence, and individualism. The car and its mythic status, and we get a chance to see it across environmental, social, industrial, and aesthetic dimensions. The images displayed will both celebrate and critique the automobile’s legacy in our culture.
If you are within reach of Gildshire’s voice, make plans to see this show. It ought to be a touchstone for more than one generation.