People love cars for how they drive, but they also love them for how they look. It’s why we don’t hesitate to call some classic cars
works of art. New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) drew from this concept for their current "Automania" exhibit.
The show doesn’t just focus on form, though. It also gives a visual history of the world-changing invention and its industry using everything from lithographs and road signs to an
What it fails to highlight is the current push toward electric powertrains—and its partnership with scandal-riddled
Volkswagen. For a museum so focused on the cutting edge, some say these gaps in the presentation are glaring oversights.
What does MoMA’s classic car exhibit include?
"Automania" attempts to do it all: present the impact the automobile made on industry, culture, and the environment in the past century, all in three rooms and a garden.
It’s no surprise that the part of the puzzle MoMA features most thoroughly is the cultural one. Along the gallery walls, photography, advertisements, and paintings display the vast influence the car has had on art (and art on the car), from Andy Warhol’s Orange Car Crash Fourteen Times to a series of Art Deco poster ads for Ford, Shell, and BP.
But the real highlights of the show are the cars. Curators show their bias for Italian design, including four vehicles created by Italians or built for companies based in Europe’s boot. Germans also get ample representation with three models, including a beautiful 1958 Volkswagen Type 1 "Beetle" sedan.
What does MoMA’s classic car exhibit not include?
According to MoMA’s website, "Automania" shows the automobile not just as an "industrial product" and "style icon," but also as a machine causing "adverse impacts" on humans and the environment.
What the exhibit description conveniently leaves out are the auto industry’s innovations toward renewable powertrains on the one hand, and its contributions to the museum on the other, most significantly by German automaker Volkswagen.
In his review,
New York Timesart critic Jason Farago points out the inconsistency between the exhibit’s pro-environmental message and Volkswagen’s emissions-test-cheating reputation.
This would all seem more forgivable if the MoMA’s online magazine did not single out corporations like BP, Mobil, and Shell for "artwashing"—hiding their misdeeds behind large endowments for the arts—while the museum enables Volkswagen, the museum’s "lead partner of education," to do exactly the same thing.
Starting your own classic car collection
Controversy and hypocrisy aside, if the automobile is your idea of art, car collecting might be the hobby for you. But be warned: while billionaires looking for their next supercar might be able to find what they consider a good deal this year, recent auction prices for "affordable classics" are through the roof.
Whether you’re in the market for a Ferrari or an old F-150, you’ll need
classic car coveragefor your new beaut. Classic car insurance is cheap and easy to get, as long as you have a good driving record and your collectible is at least 25 years old, minimally used, and securely stored.
If you’re shopping for classic car insurance,
Jerrywill generate competitive quotes from top providers in less than a minute. Jerry gathers your information from your past insurer, so you're not responsible for any long forms or phone calls. Basically, you get all of the savings and coverage, without any of the hassle.