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"Different Roads: Automobiles for the Next Century"
1999-07-22 until 1999-09-21
Museum of Modern Art
New York, NY,
USA United States of America
Different Roads: Automobiles for the Next Century is a forward-looking examination of
automobile design and its impact on society. A new generation of cars, either in production or
about to be, confronts the major social, economic, and environmental conditions facing the
consumer and the automotive industry. Eight contemporary models from major international
manufacturers, including the Fiat Multipla, Ford Ka, General Motors EV1, Rover Mini, and
Toyota Prius will be displayed in the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden. These
automobiles, intended for the middle-class consumer, are the successors to such iconic
vehicles as Fords Model T and the original Volkswagen Beetle. Their highly innovative designs
demonstrate that, in addition to responding to the greater needs of society, the simple,
affordable car no longer lacks for style, performance, or comfort.
In recent years, especially in developing nations, automobile use has risen dramatically, with
transportation now consuming 20% of the worlds total energy. The environmental problems of
urban congestion and pollution from rising fuel emissions, the reality of finite petroleum
reserves, and the high cost of gasoline outside the United States are all factors in the
search for alternative fuels and engines. In developing nations, economy, fuel, and space
efficiency are paramount concerns for new car buyers. All of these factors, augmented by
recent calls for stricter emissions standards in the United States and tax and regulatory laws
in other parts of the world, have sparked new thinking throughout the automobile industry.
The exhibition will examine the fruits of the new, socially conscious ideas and designs: new
power plants and fuels, such as electric and hybrid engines; structures such as the
space-frame, that allow for a safer, more fuel-efficient car; the use of innovative materials
such as composites, plastics, and aluminum, which afford lightness and ease of manufacturing;
and new forms of styling.
Different Roads is the first automobile exhibition to be held in the Sculpture Garden since
the landmark exhibition Ten Automobiles, in 1952. An interior gallery space will display
explanatory text and computer terminals, with access to the extensive Web site created for the
exhibition. This will allow the public a greater understanding of the complex technology
behind the design of these automobiles.
A PARTIAL LIST OF MODELS
General Motors EV1
A symposium titled What is the Future of the AutomobileNULL will be held in mid-September, with
panelists comprised of automotive designers, engineers, executives, historians, and
sociologists, who will discuss what issues must be addressed in the use, production, and
design of the automobile in the coming century.
Selected models will be made available to the press for test drives.