Automania

Jul 4, 2021–Jan 2, 2022

MoMA

Pininfarina (Battista "Pinin" Farina). Cisitalia 202 GT Car. 1946. Aluminum body, 49 × 57 5/8 × 158" (124.5 × 146.4 × 401.3 cm). Manufacturer: S.p.A. Carrozzeria Pininfarina, Torino, Italy. Gift of the manufacturer
  • MoMA, Floor 1, Sculpture Garden The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden
  • MoMA, Floor 3, 3 North The Philip Johnson Galleries

Since the first automobiles hit the road over a century ago, cars have left a lasting imprint on the design of our built environment. For both better and worse, they have fundamentally reshaped the ways in which we live, work, and enjoy ourselves. Cars have altered our ideas about mobility, connecting us across great distances at ever greater speeds. Automania takes an in-depth look at an object that has inspired countless examples of innovation, social transformation, and critical debate among designers and artists working in varied media.

This exhibition addresses the conflicted feelings—compulsion, fixation, desire, and rage—that developed in response to cars and car culture in the 20th century. Examining automobiles as both modern industrial products and style icons, it also explores their adverse impact on roads and streets, public health, and the planet’s ecosystems.

Automania brings together cars and car parts, architectural models, films, photographs, posters, paintings, and sculptures, ranging from Lily Reich’s 1930s designs for a tubular steel car seat to Andy Warhol’s Orange Car Crash Fourteen Times. In the Museum’s Sculpture Garden, five cars, including a recently acquired Citroën DS 23 sedan, will invite visitors to take an up-close view of the machines that architect Le Corbusier compared to ancient Greek temples and critic Roland Barthes likened to “the great Gothic cathedrals…the supreme creation of an era.”

A film program in the Debra and Leon Black Family Film Center will accompany the presentation of Automania.

Organized by Juliet Kinchin, Curator, Paul Galloway, Collection Specialist, and Andrew Gardner, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design.

The exhibition is made possible by Allianz, MoMA’s partner for design and innovation.

Leadership contributions to the Annual Exhibition Fund, in support of the Museum’s collection and collection exhibitions, are generously provided by Jerry I. Speyer and Katherine G. Farley, Sandra and Tony Tamer Exhibition Fund, The Contemporary Arts Council, Eva and Glenn Dubin, Alice and Tom Tisch, Mimi Haas, the Noel and Harriette Levine Endowment, The David Rockefeller Council, the Eyal and Marilyn Ofer Family Exhibition Fund, The Marella and Giovanni Agnelli Fund for Exhibitions, Kathy and Richard S. Fuld, Jr., The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art, and Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis.

Major contributions to the Annual Exhibition Fund are provided by Emily Rauh Pulitzer, Brett and Daniel Sundheim, and the Terra Foundation for American Art.

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