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Art on wheels

Art on wheels

Wednesday, 21 de March de 2018

A stroll through the world's museums and exhibitions where FCA vehicles gain status as a work of art

Many consider the creation and construction of a car as art. The car museums scattered around the planet are there to tell this love story. But there are some examples that stand out and transcend the purpose of exhibiting means of transportation, becoming works of art indeed. This is the case of the original Fiat 500F “Berlina” a 1968 original acquired by the Museum of Modern Art of New York, MoMa.

The simple 500, designed in 1957 and affectionately called “Cinquino” by the Italians, has been part of the permanent collection since July. In a note, the museum says that the vehicle “exemplifies a clear expression of function followed by form, a logical and economical use of materials and a belief that quality design should be within everyone’s reach.”

Since then, the “Cinquino” has been a big success in the Big Apple and its exhibition in the museum awarded Fiat a prize that also came from Italy: the Corporate Art Award, organized by pptArt, in collaboration with LUISS Business School and the Italian Ministry of Culture. “We are honored to have received this prestigious award, a clear recognition that the Fiat 500 is not only an industrial masterpiece with 60 years of history, but also a true symbol of Italian creativity that has taken its place in the collective imagination”, declared the Head of Fiat brand, Olivier François, during the award ceremony in Rome.

The MoMa, which in 1953 already exhibited a 1951 Lancia Gran Turismo, now also has a Jeep as a permanent exhibition (Willys-Overland M38A1, 1953). If we consider Ferrari as part of the FCA’s history, it’s worth the visit to a Formula 1 car (641/2, 1990), part of two other MoMa special exhibits: one called “Designed for Speed: Three Automobiles by Ferrari” and the “AUTObodies: speed, sport, transport“, 2002, along with other influential vehicle designs. The Jeep collection featured five special exhibits, including “A Collection of Ideas“, between 2014 and 2015, and “Born out of Necessity” (2012-2013), which featured parts which made the design a problem-solving tool.

A Willys-Overland M38A1 Jeep, 1953, at the MoMa permanent exhibition in New York

Another Jeep that has already been in a museum is a replica used by Brazilian presenter Silvio Santos on the streets with his itinerant show “The Caravan of the Speaking Turkey”. The turkey was Silvio Santos himself and the participation of celebrities (he earned the nickname from his colleague Ronald Golias for speaking non-stop and for blushing easily). The replica of the Jeep used by the presenter appeared in the exhibition “Silvio Santos is coming! or Silvio Santos vem aí!”, at the Museum of Image and Sound in Sao Paulo Brazil (MIS), set up in 2016.

A Chrysler Thunderbolt (1941), exhibited in Atlanta as an icon of automotive design

In 2014, the American city of Atlanta hosted the exhibition entitled “Dream Cars: Innovative Design, Visionary Ideas”, at the High Museum of Art. It brought together visionary automotive design icons and concepts that sparked ideas for the future. Among these jewels were five FCA cars: Chrysler Thunderbolt (1941), Chrysler (Ghia) Streamline X “Gilda” (1955), Alfa Romeo BAT 7 (1954), Lancia (Bertone) Stratos HF Zero (1970) and Ferrari Pininfarina 512S Modulo (1970).

The Museum La Triennale di Milano exhibited in 2010 authentic Alfa Romeo icons, directly from the Arese Museo Storico Alfa Romeo (IT), which has already received two new Giulias since we spoke of it here, one of them being the red jewel that broke the record at the legendary circuit of Nürburgring, Germany, on September 8, 2016.

Among these and several other automotive art exhibitions throughout history, there is one that is still on display. And if you go through London anytime between now and next April, you will be able to see it! This exhibit celebrates the design of the Ferrari brand and its evolution over its 70 years of existence. Dubbed “Ferrari Under the Skin“, at the London Design Museum. There are 14 models of the brand since the 1940 up to 2016, including several classics. The list can be found here.

There was also a gathering of an Alfa Romeo (8C 2900MM 1938) and three Ferrari (375 Plus 1954, 250 TR 1958 and 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Scaglietti 1960), among other cool cars, in the “small” sample of the collection from the designer (and car collector, no doubt) Ralph Lauren, at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs (Paris) in 2011.

But wait, there is more! It’s not just the art museums that have cars in their collections. The National Museum of American History has three FCA models in its catalog that marked the history of the United States (not just the history of the automobile but the general history itself). They are the 1939 Chrysler Plymouth Coupe, the Chrysler Turbine Car (1964)) and the Dodge Caravan (1986).

They are (literally) beautiful examples of how cars are an inseparable part of history, of art and culture of their time, officially recognized by the largest museums in the world.




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