What next? Continuing the automotive theme, The Blue Ridge Parkway: Grace in Motion (Landscape design and art.)
I’d always thought it was the beautiful scenery... until I learned about the engineering system, called ‘the line of grace’ - a road-design technique not used today.
Read more, here: http://isites.harvard.edu/fs/docs/icb.topi…
Finding evidence that Porsche by Design is more than simply the best produced car show ever.
Some wonder whether Porsche by Design is a art museum exhibition or a car show. Their confusion has not been addressed in the exhibit, its accompanying materials and events, or its catalogue. While an adequate job is done to show the connections of the exhibit with other works of art, the same cannot be said of the Porsche automobile as art itself.
Why the problem is important:
The NCMA, whether in the classical tradition or in exploring the edges of art, is, above all, serious about the experience of viewing art. Before arranging an exhibition or accessing an object, its director and curators must be convinced that the subject is significant as art.
Too little of this effort is apparent with Porsche by Design. Apologists point to an earlier MOMA exhibition and seek justification by slight reference to the Bauhaus movement, industrial design, and sculpture. Yet nothing in the exhibition itself and accompanying materials and lectures do anything specific about artistic elements. The contributions to the exhibition catalogue - from auto racers, collectors, photographers and film makers, historians, columnists, journalist and two industrial designers - re-inforce the idea that we are talking car show here.
The typical "forward" to an exhibit explains what you can expect to find in it. An "afterward", calls attention in retrospect to what you find in yourself during and after experiencing the exhibit. It would include observations from each of the museum's curators about their professional and academic view of the artistic merit of the exhibit, the Director's understanding of how the exhibit fits into the purpose of the collection and the mission of the museum and presents a subject for the traditional, accepted ways of experiencing art and for expanding and developing new ones.
The educational program offers a starting place. Evolution of Form and Ahead of Its Time offer a connection with items in the Museum's own collection which could be a foundation for a critical reflection upon the Porsche to see how it achieves artistic legitimacy ... and how it falls short. The Porsche Story gives a comprehensive overview of the political, psychological, engineering, and business context of the automobile which could serve as a foundation for consideration of its more specific artistic and design context.
How about it, Mr. Wheeler?
The Porsche exhibit is, without question, an outstanding car show. In an art museum it must be more. An "afterward" can help us to understand why, answer critics, and see what the museum has accomplished with Porsche by Design, a brilliant departure from convention with a legitimate place, as art, in an art museum.
Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
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