HomeCar CultureCommentarySan Antonio museum joins the cars as art movement

San Antonio museum joins the cars as art movement


Another art museum is ready to add classic cars to its display space. In recent weeks we’ve reported on classic or historic racing cars being featured at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and at the Phoenix Art Museum. This week we report that the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas, opens an exhibit titled “Classic Cars and Postwar Paintings” on February 14.

The Texas museum says this is the first exhibit of its kind pairing classic cars and postwar paintings.

Museum, San Antonio museum joins the cars as art movement, ClassicCars.com Journal
‘Space Frame C’ byEdna Andrade is among the works of art to be featured alongside the automobiles

“This major exhibition will boldly pair magnificent examples of American fine art and design from the Golden Age,” the museum said. “From the end of World War II through the mid-70s, Americans experienced the explosion of Abstract Expressionism, Pop art, and Op art; the mass production of automobiles; and an expanded market for luxury items. This exhibition captures this innovative moment in U.S. history by presenting 10 classic cars as modern sculpture paired with paintings from the McNay’s collection and select loans. 

“Rather than present a historical survey, postwar paintings and sculpture-on-wheels will be in dialogue with one another based on color, composition, dynamics, and design. The exhibition will be on view for 13 weeks, ending May 19, 2019.”

“Art museums across the country are expanding traditional definitions of art and artistic excellence, and thanks to American Dreams, modern and contemporary art at the McNay will now include sculpture in steel as true reflections of innovation in postwar America,” McNay director Richard Aste is quoted in the museum’s announcement. 

“With this exhibition and with everything we do, we continue to expand our narratives, reach new audiences, and speak directly to the backgrounds, cultures, and interests of more San Antonians than ever before.”

Among the vehicles to be displayed are a 1948 Tucker, 1963 Chevrolet Corvette, 1957 Pontiac Star Chief convertible, and a 1956 Chrysler DeSoto Firedome.  

Museum, San Antonio museum joins the cars as art movement, ClassicCars.com Journal
This 1953 Chrysler New Yorker taxi will go home with someone in museum raffle

“The unique visual ‘conversations’ that occur between paintings and cars in this exhibition reinforce the triumph of American art, design, and production beginning just after World War II,” said René Paul Barilleaux, the museum’s head of curatorial affairs.“In this expansive moment, America is at the forefront in the visual arts and high style, and a major force in the postwar economic boom. By presenting significant artworks alongside classic automobiles, the McNay once again expands the definitions of modern art while engaging new audiences of museum-goers.”

In conjunction with the exhibit, the museum willraffle off a 1953 Chrysler New Yorker taxi. 

Canadian museum received historians’ award

As part of its 50th anniversary, the Society of Automotive Historians is presenting several awards, among them the James J. Bradley Distinguished Service Award, which goes to the Canada Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa, Ontario. 

“Canada’s national science and technology museum in Ottawa houses one of the most important collections of automotive artifacts and archives in North America, with special emphasis on all things Canadian, hence its institutional uniqueness and historical significance,” the group said in its announcement.

“The artifact collection comprises 95 automobiles, 10 trucks, 5 buses, 60 motorcycles, 180 bicycles, and about 300 automotive parts. The library and archival collections related to automobiles and automobility are particularly rich. They include a special collection of over 8,000 automobile advertisements, more than 10,000 automobile brochures, design drawings, and fire vehicle-related materials. The library also holds significant collections of rare books as well as more than 1,000 other monographs relating to transportation, motorized and non-motorized. 

“In short, the museum is aimed at celebrating Canadian automotive heritage with its collections growing year by year.”

Special events this weekend

The Simeone Foundation Automobile Museum will exhibit several cars from its collection at the Philadelphia Auto Show through February 10. The cars include a 1936 Aston Martin Le Mans, 1938 Peugeot Darl’mat Le Mans, 1939 BMW 328, 1929 Alfa Romeo 6c 1750 Super Sport, 1990 Nissan 300ZX twin turbo and a 1970 Plymouth Superbird.

Also this weekend, on February 9 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Simeone stages a Demo Day at the museum with a 1926 Kissel 8-75 Speedster, 1929 duPont Model G Speedster and 1933 Auburn V12 12-165 Speedster.

The Henry Ford (museum) in Dearborn also offers free admission to children with an accompanying adult through March 31. Use the Kidsfree19 code when purchasing tickets online.

The winter speaker series at the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan, continues Sunday afternoon with Robb Gillespie presenting “Built in Battle Creek: Threshers and Steam Traction Engines.”

The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum in northeast Indiana hosts The Bootleggers Ball from 6 to 9 p.m. on February 9.

As part of its Radwood exhibit, the Crawford Auto-Aviation museum in Cleveland will host an exploration of 1980s and ‘90s history, pop culture and fashion from 1 to 3 p.m. on February 9.

Autobooks-Aerobooks in Burbank, California, hosts author Jon Jamieson and his book Departed Wings: The post deregulation decade — Los Angeles International Airport 1980-1990 from 10 a.m. until noon on February 9.

A 1968 Fiat 500 F will be featured as the Museum of Modern Art in New York City opens its “The Value of Good Design” exhibit which runs from February 10 until May 27.

Mark your calendar

The North East Motor Sports Museum in Loudon, New Hampshire, hosts a Daytona Party on February 16 from noon until the end of the NASCAR 300-mile race, which will be viewed on television during the event. Also during the event, the museum will unveil its four-lane, 1/24-scale slot-car track as well as the museum’s newest vehicle addition, a 1960s-era Gavin Cooper cut-down supermodified racing car.

The Newport Car Museum in Rhode Island will host a special viewing of the movie, Vanishing Point, at 7 p.m. on February 13 and stages a “hoods up weekend” February 16-17 to show off the engines of the vehicles in its collection.

“Pint with the Past” is a beer-tasting fundraiser February 16 at the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan.

In conjunction with the February 16-24 school holiday in England, the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu will host a Hands-on Half-Term event featuring its Chitty Chitty Bang Bang 50 Years exhibit with students invited to make like Caractacus Potts and create their own balloon cars and then see how fast they’ll go.

During the same dates in February, the British Motor Museum at Beaulieu will offer special children’s programs on jet-powered cars daily from 11 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., with children building third own “jet powered” (O.K., it’s the air emerging from a balloon) cars. 

After its recent Sunday Drives program was rained out, the California Automobile Museum in Sacramento has rescheduled the event for February 17.

LeMay – America’s Car Museum hosts its Bootleggers Blowout party from 8 to 11 p.m. on February 22.

February 23 is Trivia Night at the Studebaker National Museum in South Bend, Indiana, where the first of 100 questions will be asked at 7 p.m. Teams are asked to register in advance by calling the museum.

“Winning Numbers: The First, The Fastest, The Famous” is the title of a new exhibit at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, where board member Bruce Meyer will display 10 race cars from his collection through January 19, 2020. The exhibit opens February 23.

The British Motor Museum’s annual Mini Motorists program for those 5 years of age or younger starts February 25 and includes crafts, story-telling and playtime from 10:30 a.m. until noon.

The Brooklands Museum in England offers a presentation March 7 by author Matt James on the 60-year history of the British Touring Car Championship

The Seal Cove Auto Museum in Maine hots its Brass Club speakeasy gala on March 9 from 7 until 9 p.m.

The 31st induction ceremony at the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in Daytona Beach, Florida, takes place March 11-12. Inductees will be Augie Duesenberg, Dario Franchitti, Phil Remington, Don Schumacher, Kevin Schwantz, Tony Stewart and Linda Vaughn.

The National Corvette Museum’s Motorsports Park will be the site of BingeTokyo on March 16-17. Though it may sound as though only Japanese vehicles are welcome, organizers say all makes and models are welcome in what they believe to be “hands down the cheapest seat time you will get,” seven hours of track time over two days for $500.

LeMay Collections at Marymount participates in the Almost Spring swap meet and car show at the Washington State Fair Events Center in Puyallup, Washington, on Marcy 16-17.

The Miles Through Time Automotive Museum in Toccoa, Georgia, stages a car club cruise-in on March 23.

“RADwood: Cleveland Goes Rad” is the title for an exhibit/experience running through March 24 at the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum in Cleveland. Staged in partnership with RADwood car shows, the exhibit will celebrate 1980s and ‘90s car culture and will showcase vehicles, clothing, music “and everything in between.”

LeMay Collections at Marymount in Tacoma, Washington, hosts the LeMay Tea Party on March 30.

The Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild will stage a reunion and model car exposition April 4-7 at the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan, where more than 100 of the cars will remain on exhibit through October.

The AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, is organizing a bus trip to the New York International Auto Show on April 27.

The NASCAR Hall of Fame museum in Charlotte, North Carolina, opens a special “RCR 50: Only in America” exhibit featuring 50 years of Richard Childress Racing in May. 

Britain’s National Motor Museum at Beaulieu hosts both its silver-anniversary spring autojumble (swap meet) May 18-19 and a 60th anniversary celebration of the Mini. 

LeMay Collections at Marymount in Tacoma, Washington, offers Model T drivers education classes May 18, June 8, July 7, August 4 and September 8.

The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, has opened registration of its Museum In Motion trip to the 24 hours of Le Mans race in 2019. The dates are June 6-17 and the trip includes four nights in London and three nights in Paris.

LeMay Collections at Marymount in Tacoma, Washington, stages LeMay Motorcycle Days from June 13-23 with 200 motorcycles on exhibit and with rounds of motorcycle soccer.

“The Car. The Future. Me” is the title of an exhibit scheduled to open July 13 at the British Motor Museum in Gaydon, UK, to explore “futuristic car design and (to) challenge your idea of how we will interact with the cars for the future,” the museum said. 

The Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, Michigan, inducts new members Sergio Marchionne, the late chief executive of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles; Janet Guthrie, the first woman to qualify as a driver in the Indianapolis 500; Richard “Dick” Dauch, co-founder of American Axle Manufacturing; and Patrick Ryan, creator of the first auto dealership finance and insurance department, on July 18 in Detroit.

On August 3, the British Motor Museum will be the site of the Classic Mini Mosaic world-record attempt that is expected to draw more than 600 classic Minis. The following day the museum will be the site of the National Metro & Mini Show.

The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, inducts racer Briggs Cunningham, Corvette designer Tom Peters, and enthusiast Dollie Cole, who also was the wife of then-GM president Ed Cole. into its hall of fame on August 30.

“Legends of Speed,” a showcase of nearly two dozen historic racing cars, opens November 2 at the Phoenix Art Museum.

Does your local car museum have special events or exhibitions planned? Let us know. Email larrye@classiccars.com.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


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