From Concept to Chrome

Detroit Style: Car Design in the Motor City, 1950-2020,” an exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts, opens this month and runs through next June.

… The D.I.A. exhibition set out to communicate the journey that started with a designer’s vision… For instance, the ’70 Barracuda is seen not only as a production model on display but also in a development sketch, rendered in Prismacolor on vellum in 1967 by Milton Antonick, a Chrysler designer. Mr. Colman describes this image of the car’s tail end as “a humble drawing, an informal working document” that serves to bridge the gap between a styling concept and the final product made of sheet metal.

The discipline of creating a car’s look is today known as design, but in earlier times… the creators of curvaceous fenders and chrome flourishes were called stylists. “It was a matter of looking to how the practitioners described themselves in the era,” Mr. Colman said. “We felt it important to keep the historical language.”

“… These cars represent what I think has been a higher level of optimism in America. The world is changing, and we might be highlighting the end of an era, the moment just before the meteor wiped out the dinosaurs.”

(Norman Mayersohn, “‘A Love Letter to Detroit’ on Vellum and Chrome,” NYTimes, 11-26-20)

Epilogue: Mr. Colman, the exhibition’s curator, commutes to work by bicycle.

(c) 2020 JMN

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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