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Indepth Arts News:

"Surrounding Interiors: Views Inside the Car"
2002-02-21 until 2002-06-09
Davis Museum and Cultural Center
Wellesley, MA, USA

A place both personal and anonymous, private and public, hermetic and permeable, the interior of the car is the subject of Surrounding Interiors: Views Inside the Car. Like the mind, the car interior is a control center of sorts, a center of psychic and social activity that frames a particular view of the world outside, occasionally offering the outsider glimpses within, notes Judith Hoos Fox, curator at the Davis Museum and Cultural Center (DMCC) and exhibition organizer. Substantial portions of our lives along with significant moments occur while we're in cars. The experience of being inside a car has not been the subject of an exhibition until now.

This exhibition features 24 works by 17 contemporary artists in photography, video, sculpture, painting and multi-media who explore the mutable nature of the car interior. Works by artists Andrew Bush, Nan Goldin and Alex Harris (photography); Sophie Calle and Cate Snook (video); Dan Devine, Edward and Nancy Reddin Kienholz, Theophilus Nii Anum Sowah, Andrea Zittel (sculpture); Blake Rayne and James Rosenquist (painting), and Peter Cain, Patrick Killoran, Lorna Simpson and Daniel Storto (multi-media) are included. Some of the works have been created from the artist's perspective of being inside the car, sharing space and experience with their subject; other artists act as voyeurs into this private but vulnerable interior. Blake Rayne's paintings Autumn Drive Part I and II convey the blank quality of the car interior while Cate Snook's video installations take the viewer to a territory that questions the boundaries between inner vision and outer reality.

Sculptor Andrea Zittel's escape vehicles, customized to their owner's specifications, resemble small trailers. Viewed in the living rooms of their owners these works encapsulatethe feeling of personal sanctuary found in a car. The handbuilt coffins of Ghanianculptor Theophilus Nii Anum Sowah relate the association of the car with status and death. In Ghana handbuilt replicas of cars have become popular as coffins in a recent tradition that celebrates the deceased by burying them in a cherished object.

Andrew Bush's photographs pierce the protective shield drivers and passengers feel as they drive, deep in reverie and unaware of being observed. A video projection created by Bush will premier at the exhibition. Sophie Calle presents an unglamorized version of romance in her video Double Blind, made with ex-groom Greg Shephard documenting their trip across the U.S., complete with their wedding in a drive-through chapel.

An exhibition catalogue has been produced by 2wiceVisualCulturalDocument, a semi-annual interdisciplinary arts journal published by the 2wice Arts Foundation. J. Abbott Miller is editor and designer of 2wice.

Contributors to the catalogue offer unique perspectives on our intimate connection to the automotive interior. The catalogue presents essays by DMCC Curators Judith H. Fox and Lucy Flint-Gohlke, Rock and Roll writer Greil Marcus, Film historian Paul Arthur, Automotive expert Phil Patton, Essayist Tobi Tobias, Art editor David Frankel, Professor of Visual Studies Giuliana Bruno, Editor/Designer J. Abbott Miller, Photographer Andrew Bush, Cinematographer Adam Bartos and Writer and Editor James Wolcott.

Alex Harris
May 28, 1998, Jorge Alberto Roja's 1951 Plymouth,
View of Haban Vieja Street (calle Sol y Cuba) Facing North, 1998.
Color print, 47 x 59 inches.
Gift of the artist, 2001.52.
From the exhibition Surrounding Interiors: Views Inside the Car.

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