American art -
John Baeder (b. 1938), “Stardust Motel,” 1977, oil on canvas, 58 x 70 in., Yale University Art Gallery, 2008.19.762, © the artist and OK Harris Works of Art, New York

Toledo, Ohio 
Through September 15, 2019

The rise of the automobile as a popular symbol of the U.S. is explored in the Toledo Museum of Art’s exhibition “Life Is a Highway: Art and American Car Culture.” It features approximately 125 works in a variety of media — including painting, sculpture, photography, film, prints, and drawings — drawn from the museum’s collection and other North American institutions.

To be presented only at Toledo — a major car manufacturing center — this is the first U.S. exhibition to offer an inclusive, historical overview of this theme with an emphasis on the Midwest.

Organizing curator Robin Reisenfeld notes that, as a key element of the postwar boom economy, the car quickly became a symbol of freedom, individualism, renewal, and middle-class prosperity. Her project examines its mythic status across social, aesthetic, environmental, and industrial dimensions with images that both celebrate and critique its legacy.

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