Sitting on the northeast corner of one of the busiest intersections in midtown Atlanta, the new 16-ton public art installation, Autoeater, pictures a small two-door Fiat being enveloped by a bedrock of marble like a python swallowing its prey. To create the sculpture, German visual arts duo Venske & Spänle used white marble from the Carrara marble quarry in northern Tuscany. Autoeater is the latest commission from Midtown Alliance, a local nonprofit coalition of business owners and civic leaders working "to create an exceptional urban experience in Atlanta's Midtown district."
According to the Alliance, the new sculpture aims to comment on "Atlanta's relationship with the automobile in the context of one of the city's most walkable urban districts." The automobile in the question is a Fiat Panda, a highly practical utility vehicle that was widely popular throughout Europe in the 1980s. The Panda's mass-produced, machine-made frame contrasts the carefully sculpted creases in the sculpture's marble base.
The Director of Urban Design for Midtown Alliance, Ginny Kennedy, writes, "The world-class reputation of the artists and the craftsmanship of this piece reinforce Midtown's commitment to high-caliber public art. The playful and unorthodox form of this sculpture will engage the public and spark interaction at one of Midtown's most prominent intersections."
In late 2016, the Midtown Alliance put out an open call for proposals to artists everywhere for a new piece that would take the place of the Rockspinner, a 22,000lb granite boulder that had been mounted on a rotating base. The Autoeater sculpture will be on display for the next three years on the corner of 10th and Peachtree Street.