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American Car Culture Gets a Roaring Group Show

Leila Heller Gallery creates a visual ode to the automobile through a massive exhibit.
Shrines to Speed: Art and the Automobile, From the Post-war to the Post-modern, installation view, photo by Brian Buckley. All images courtesy Leila Heller Gallery if not noted otherwise

Encapsulating both the powerful horsepower and the lackadaisical nostalgia of car culture, Shrines to Speed: Art and the Automobile, From the Post-war to the Post-modern is a comprehensive ode to the steely American muse on four wheels. The group show, currently showing at Leila Geller Gallery, covers the themes of road trips (the muddied treads of tire marks), innocuous details of car interiors (the abstract shape of a pine tree air freshener), and simple drawings that pay tribute to a car’s curving elegance. Featuring nearly 70 different artworks by more than 40 artists, including William Eggleston and Andy Warhol, Shrines to Speed is a collection of mediums; photographs, installations, and paintings are all present.


The history of the automobile as a vessel of artistic innovation is an overarching theme. In an official press release, the gallery organizers describe the exhibit’s timeliness: “Not only does Shrines to Speedpresent the Post-war, Conceptual, Pop, and Post-modern artistic approaches to the automobile, but the curators have also chosen to include a preface […] highlighting a select group of early 20th century images which present a pre-history of conceptual approaches to the car in an era prior to the highway explosion.” Check out images from Shrines to Speed: Art and the Automobile, From the Post-war to the Post-modern below:

John Aaron Frank, 69 Cuda, 2015. Silver and automotive clear on glass with steel armature, 40 x 49 x 11

Stump, Bruce High Quality Foundation, 2016

National City (W,1,2,3,4,5,B), John Baldessari, 1996–2009, 19.125 x 18.75 in, archival ink jet, photographs with hand-painted acrylic

Untitled (Imperial Car Detail), Andy Warhol, 1962, pencil on Paper, 18 x 24 / 45.7 x 61 cm

Double Standard, Dennis Hopper, c.1961, gelatin silver print, 16 x 23 x 13/16 in

Popsicletoes, John Chamberlain, 2008, painted chromed stainless steel, 106 x 34 x 30 in

Every Building on the Sunset Strip, Ed Ruscha, 1966, self-published book, offset lithograph, 7 1/8 x 5 3⁄4 x 3/8 in

Untitled, William Eggleston, 1974, pigment print, 30 x 24 in / 76.2 x 61 cm

World of Interiors, Nate Lowman, 2014, oil and alkyd on canvas, 79 x 56 x 1.25 in

Slow, Jack Pierson, 2009, color photograph, 10 x 8 in

Realm (Tracks), Robert Rauschenberg, 1976, clay, dirt, resin, and fiberglass with a wet soil patina, 30.25 x 36.75 in, Image on behalf of Jim Kempner Fine Art

Shrines to Speed: Art and the Automobile, From the Post-war to the Post-modern is on display until July 16, 2016, at Leila Geller Gallery in Chelsea, NY. Find more information about the show here.


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