Auto Tech

'Eyes on the Road: Art of the Automotive Landscape' on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum

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Appreciating high-end automotive art on the wall is as satisfying to some collectors as keeping a valuable bit of metal in the garage.

To further make the case for that proposition, the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles is now showcasing an exhibit of famous car-related works from artists including Ed Ruscha, Andy Warhol and David Hockney. “Eyes on the Road: Art of the Automotive Landscape,” on exhibit at the museum now until November, isn’t primarily about the shapes and designs of vehicles, but also about the motoring landscapes that drivers pass daily on the roads and highways, but don’t often process “as objects of art and inspiration.”

Take, for example, Roger Kurtz’s multi-dimensional view down the road in “Double Underpass,” or the severe, angular interpretation of the Standard gas station from pop art iconographer Ed Ruscha in 1966.

“This exhibit represents the fusion of artistic expression, automotive ingenuity and observation of the motoring environment,” said Terry L. Karges, the museum’s executive director. “It also perfectly illustrates how artists can reveal the beauty hidden in plain sight throughout the world in which we drive.”

The display is divided into five sections: Vehicle Concepts, Sign Language, At the Pump, Highways, and Street Art.

Among the more fantastic cars from the 1930s and ‘50s displayed in the “vehicle concepts” showcases are the 1934 Dymaxion designed by Buckminster Fuller, 1956 American Motors Astra-Gnome, 1955 one-off Ghia Gilda and 1969 Chevrolet Astro III. There’s also a weird but lovable rendering of a Disneyland Autopia Mark VII.

Besides Ruscha’s station, other art pieces that transcend the  “auto art” label include Hockney’s “Mulholland Drive” (1986) and Warhol’s “Mobil Gas” (1985).

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