NCMA gets wheels turning with Rolling Sculpture exhibit

RALEIGH — Car enthusiasts, Great Gatsby lovers, and art followers roll in as the North Carolina Museum of Art introduced Rolling Sculptures: Art Deco Cars from the 1930 and ’40s exhibit.The exhibit opened Oct. 1 showing 14 cars and three motorcycles from the art deco period. “The exhibition is entitled Rolling Sculpture: Art Deco Cars from the 1930s and 40s, and I think once you see these automobiles and motorcycles you will see the convergence of industry and the highest expression of Art Deco aesthetics,” NCMA director Lawrence Wheeler said. Wheeler said he was a bit hesitant to agreeing to a car-themed exhibit in a fine art museum initially. “I might be the big car enthusiast myself,” Wheeler. I was a bit cynical about bringing more cars into the museum and representing them as works of art. I was disenthused of my senses immediately because these are true works of art — just experiencing the accents and the detailing, the invention of new design methodology.”Ken Gross, the guest curator, said cars as art has been discussed heavily throughout the decades of whether they should be in art museums or not. He pointed to an example about the first car exhibit in MOMA in New York city in the 1940s, saying the exhibit was well-appreciated.”We no longer have to rationalize what we are doing,” Gross said.Gross compiled the Rolling Sculpture with Caroline Rocheleau, who has concentrated in Egyptian art and archaeology. Although the exhibit is out of her normal work, she said her link to the exhibit is with the 1936 Stout Scarab.”I will admit this is my anchor, Rocheleau said. “This is my tie to this exhibition, because it has an ancient Egyptian scarab.”The secretary of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources Susan Kluttz said the exhibit will attract various audiences.”The exciting thing about this is the wide audience of people that will be coming to see it,” Kluttz said. “I think that’s what’s so important is that people who appreciate art have a responsibility to spread that word to people. And so, I think we will always be reaching out to different audiences and this is yet again another unusual audience. We’ll get the combination of car lovers, art enthusiasts, architectural students, designers and fans of the Gatsby era.” The Rolling Sculpture exhibit will continue to Jan. 15, 2017 in the Meymandi Exhibition Gallery in the East Building on the NC Museum of Art campus.For more information: The North Carolina Museum of Art