Until January 2nd , 2022 the MoMA – Museum of Modern Art in New York (11 W 53rd St) will be open to the public, hosting “Automania”, an exhibition that considers the social, urban and environmental transformations caused by the invention of the automobile in the 20th century. Curated by Juliet Kinchin, Paul Galloway and Andrew Gardner from the Department of Architecture and Design of the prestigious New York museum, the exhibition approaches the theme from different perspectives, not limiting itself to exalting the undeniable formal and aesthetic beauty of certain models, but also inviting us to reflect on the way in which motor vehicles – for better or worse – have influenced lifestyles and the urban environment. It is no coincidence that the title chosen for the exhibition comes from “Automania 2000”, a 1963 British cartoon nominated for an Oscar in 1964, which predicted a bleak future due to the excessive production of cars and the spread of consumerism. Cars have reinvented mobility, connecting us over great distances at ever-increasing speeds, but this greater freedom and economic autonomy has come at the expense of enormous human suffering and environmental damage,” explained Juliet Kinchin. “Throughout the 20th century, the car has inspired countless examples of innovation, social transformation and critical debate among designers, architects, artists, filmmakers and photographers. This is what ‘Automania’ is all about.
The exhibition takes place in two different spaces: the gallery on the third floor and the Sculpture Garden, which has often been the set for Woody Allen’s films (this section will end on October 10th ). The first section hosts 3 models of cars (a 1938 Volkswagen Beetle, a 1963 Jaguar e-Type roadster and the Cisitalia 202 GT designed in 1946 by Pininfarina), films, photographs, posters, paintings and sculptures; These include Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s print ‘L’Automobiliste’ (1898), Lily Reich’s 1930’s designs for a tubular steel car seat, Margaret Bourke-White’s photographs of American car factories (1930-1932) and Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1955 drawings for a Road Machine. The second houses six cars, among which there is a strong Italian presence. In addition to famous foreign cars such as the 1965 Porsche 911 Coupe, the 2002 Smart and the 1953 Jeep M-38A1, there are the 1968 Fiat 500 F – present at Moma since 2017 – and the Ferrari 641/2, designed by John Barnard, which raced in the 1990 F1 World Championship with Alain Prost and Nigel Mansell. Another, the 1973 DS23, can be considered partly Italian given Flaminio Bertoni’s key role in the project.
Above: Fiat 500 F, 1968.