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Sunday, December 17, 2017

Andy Warhol as Gearhead: Museum Considers Artist’s Fascination With Cars

Andy Warhol paints directly onto a BMW M1 in 1979. Andy Warhol paints directly onto a BMW M1 in 1979.

Long before BMW commissioned him to paint an art car, Andy Warhol had translated an abiding fascination with automobiles into work. A new show at the Montclair Art Museum in New Jersey includes some 40 works and other items on the exhibition theme, “Warhol and Cars.”

The show’s linchpin is a Warhol painting owned by the institution, “Twelve Cadillacs,” which depicts a dozen repeated views of the front of a 1963 Fleetwood 60 Special. To Warhol, the Cadillac was as iconic as Mickey Mouse, Marilyn Monroe, the Campbell’s soup can or the Coca-Cola bottle. The painting was one of several automotive-themed Warhol works published in the November 1962 edition of Harper’s Bazaar, when the magazine commissioned Warhol to produce a visual commentary on the automobile.

The cultural importance of Cadillacs and other cars is given some context with the show’s inclusion of advertisements, brochures and design drawings from the Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collection of American Automobile Art.

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