ROAD RAGE CHECKLIST
23 ARTISTS LOOK AT CARS
Saint Clement, 1987
Jean Baudrillard (b.1929 - d.2007) is mainly associated with postmodern and poststructuralist writing. His theory combines both traditional and contemporary philosophy, bringing together philosophy, social theory, and an idiosyncratic cultural metaphysics. His artwork is little-known and a powerful surprise to many.
Covered Car, Albany California, 2010
Bechtle (b.1932 - d.2020) was an American Photorealist painter best known for his depictions of sunlit streets and everyday life. With a distinctive, non- narrative aesthetic, his watercolors and oil paintings document what he called portraits of the “essence of American experience”. This is a tour de force of charcoal drawing, never an easy medium.
Between the Days, 2017
Matt Bollinger (b.1980) works across painting,
animation, sculpture and music. The animation of Between the Days, 2017 is meticulously painted, frame by frame, in acrylic and flashe, in which he modifies and photographs his paintings hundreds of times. The paintings store within themselves the cycle of the passing days, hidden under layers of paint.
Peter Cain (b.1959- d.1997) was an artist best known for his meticulously executed paintings and drawings of surreal and aberrant versions of automobiles. His style has been said to combine aspects of surrealism, Photorealism, and the art of James Rosenquist. His works’ recognizability as cars is always dynamic, peculiar and resonant.
Compression Automobile, 1970
César (b.1921- d.1998), a member of the Movement Realisme, was best known for his crushed cars and recycled metals. Though compared to the work of Pop artists like Warhol who appropriated commercial commodities, he was more interested in the formal compositional aspects of sculpture, and may be better likened to Giacometti.
John Chamberlain's (b.1927- d.2011) distinctive metal sculptures, often made of crushed automobile steel, reveal stately grace and expressive plasticity of color, weight, and balance, Chamberlain tapped into the energy of Abstract Expressionism, using the pre-manufactured elements of Pop Art and Minimalism. In Tomago, he also evokes the provocative folds of the High Baroque and even the famed Winged Victory of Samothrace in the Louvre.
Liz Cohen (b.1973) is a photographer and performance artist whose career focuses largely on the intersections of immigration, industry, labor and women’s representation in popular media. Cohen is perhaps best known for her provocative BODYWORK project, in which American El Camino lowrider innards are forced into a Trabant, an East German “people’s car”, and Cohen inhabits a new identity herself as a car customizer and a lowrider car model.
Back Lot, 2018-2019
Gregory Crewdson’s (b.1962) photographs have entered the American visual lexicon, taking their place alongside the paintings of Edward Hopper and the films of Alfred Hitchcock and David Lynch, as indelible evocations of a silent psychological interzone between the everyday and the uncanny. The work is so exacting that you will see bugs flying around the streetlight.
Self-Portrait on Deserted Road, 1982
Judy Dater (b.1941) uses photography as an instrument for challenging traditional conceptions of the female body. Her early work paralleled the emergence of the feminist movement, and became strongly associated with it. At a time when female frontal nudity was considered risqué, Dater pushed boundaries by taking pictures of the naked female body, and in this case her own body, and its vulnerability.
Blue Dream, 2021
Favela (b. 1986) is based in Las Vegas, Nevada, and known for large-scale installations and sculpture that manifest his interactions with American pop culture and the Latinx experience. Although made of piñata materials, it is not filled with candy. It was built in The Church in situ by the artist and a small crew. We have no idea how it we will get it out of the building!
Ford Cosworth, 2000
Sylvie Fleury (b.1961) subversively takes on capitalist aesthetics through a distinctly feminized lens, examining the intersection of popular and high culture. Engaging with the mechanics of materialistic desire and aesthetics, Fleury's sleek, alluring works provide a lens through which contemporary politics of gender, beauty and consumerism can be re-evaluated. The Ford engine here was the lightest built at its time, made insanely heavy by being cast in bronze and chrome-coated by Fleury.
Mary Heilmann (b.1940) has been influenced by 1960’s counterculture, the free speech movement, and the surf ethos of her native California. She ranks among the most influential abstract painters of her generation. Heilmann’s work overlays the analytical geometries of Minimalism with the spontaneous ethos of the Beat Generation, and is always distinguishable by its often unorthodox, always joyful, approach to color and form. They are often subtly humorous and deceptively simple.
Car Show, 2013
Justine Kurland (b.1969) is a contemporary American photographer. Best known for her large scale C-prints of rural landscapes inhabited by nude women, Kurland’s surreal images evoke pagan utopias, post-apocalyptic, or pre-industrial worlds. Her subject matter work often involves communes in rural America, inspired by 19th-century idyllic English landscape paintings. The touch of the hand in this work is both graceful and subversive in its androgyny.
Peter Larkin (b.1926 - d.2019) first designed the set of the 1951 Broadway adaptation of The Wild Duck by Ibsen. Over the course of his career, he was a scenic or production designer for Dial M for Murder, Peter Pan, The Teahouse of the August Moon, No Time for Sergeants, Tootsie, and Get Shorty. He won four Tony Awards for Best Scenic Design. This work is inspired by Rollie Free breaking the land speed record in 1948—please see the last entry on this checklist.
Wrecked Spyder, 2010
Kristen Morgin’s (b.1968) sculptures, composed mainly of clay, express both beauty and loss, as her subjects appear to be unearthed or abandoned objects in varying states of ruin or decay. Morgin's remarkable ability to conjure the texture of accessible objects such as carved wood, rusted metal, and fabric realized in clay reveal the complexity of our perception of mortality by way of the past.
Ring of Fire, 2009
Morley (b.1931- d.2018) is acknowledged as one of the earliest innovators of Superrealism, which developed as a counterpoint to Pop Art in the 1960s. Over the course of his distinguished career, Morley deﬁed stylistic characterization, moving by turns through so-called abstract, realist, neo-romantic, and neo-expressionist painterly modes, while being attentive to his own biographical experiences. He had glee in making boyish things with a raging sense of invention. This work is made entirely of paper.
Untitled (Super Bee Hood #1), 1989
Prince (b.1949) is best known for mining images from mass media, advertising and entertainment since the late 1970s, Prince has redefined the concepts of authorship, ownership, and aura. Applying his understanding of the complex transactions of representation to the making of art, he has evolved a unique signature filled with echoes of other signatures, but which is immediately recognizable as his own.
Hydraulic Muscles, Pneumatic Smiles, 2014
Ed Ruscha (b.1937) started his artistic career by calling
himself an “abstract artist… who deals with subject matter.” Abandoning academic connotations that came to be associated with Abstract Expressionism, he looked instead to tropes of advertising and brought words–as form, symbol, and material – to the forefront of painting. His wry sense of humor is evident in this iconic work.
Lustre Creme, 2016-2017
David Salle (b.1952) is a contemporary American painter, printmaker, and photographer. A prominent Neo-Expressionist artist, his collage-like paintings feature overlapping imagery from a variety of sources, such as magazines, interior decor, and art history. His compositions, using brilliant color palettes, are rendered in a deceptively straightforward style, colliding incongruent figures and patterns. His extraordinary sense of color is evident in this work. Without the casual-looking green paint blob on the upper left, the other colors would deaden.
Untitled Film Still #49, 1979
Cindy Sherman (b.1954) has probed identity with visual and cultural codes of art, celebrity, and gender in photography, always using herself as model. Part of the Pictures generation who came of age in the 1970s, she has responded to the mass media landscape around herself with incisive picture-making. This is a famous example of her “film stills” series, powerfully evoking cars and vulnerability by their absence.
Peter Stampfli (b.1937) is a figurative visual artist, whose work was stylistically close to British Pop Art. Later, his practice focused intently on the theme of the automobile, using representation of the tire, which he released from its context to keep only the geometric and purified tread print, redefined in various media. He was one of the earliest Swiss artists to be associated with Pop Art.
Henry Taylor (b. 1958) paints quick, loose portraits of his relatives, friends, celebrities, and athletes on large and small canvases, and creates evocative sculptures and assemblages of found materials. “I paint those subjects I have love and sympathy for,” he has said. He draws on the folk art and modernism present in a strain of African American painting that traces back to Jacob Lawrence and Romare Bearden. Although minimally described, this interior can be nowhere but a car’s.
Atom Suit Project: Bumper Car, Chernobyl, 1997
Atom Suit Project: Bumper Car, Chernobyl, 1997
Kenji Yanobe (b. 1965) uses the theme of survival in present-day society into his work, creating numerous large-scale mechanical sculptural works that may be attached to one’s body or ridden and controlled. With the dawn of the 21st century, Yanobe shifted to the theme of revival, and in 2003, he held the exhibition Megalomania. This eerie moment of irony takes place at Chernobyl, lending a ghoulish atmosphere to “car culture”.
Peter Larkin's Motorcycle (see Larkin's entry on p.4) was inspired by the successful attempt in 1948 to set a motorcycle land speed record of 150mph by Rollie Free. Riding either a Vincent Black Shadow or a Vincent Black Lightning, a point of controversy, he achieved the record by hydroplaning his body out behind the cycle at top speed. His record has of course been broken many times since and now stands at 420mph by a Dodge Tomahawk. But it’s doubtful that its driver wore a Speedo.