Iconic Car Collection Comes To Houston


Today’s automotive manufacturers often strive for economy and efficiency,but there was a time when art and elegance reigned. This month, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, opens Sculpted in Steel: Art Deco Automobiles and Motorcycles, 1929–1940, an exhibition that celebrates the cars and motorcycles designed during this iconic period. Fourteen cars and three motorcycles will be on view alongside vintage images and historical footage. Showcasing vehicles from renowned car collectors and museum collections in the United States, Sculpted in Steel will be presented in Houston from February 21 to May 30, 2016.

   Ken Gross, a noted automobile expert and former director of the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, worked together with Cindi Strauss, the Museum’s curator of modern and contemporary decorative arts and design, on the selection for the exhibition, which draws on a concept originally developed for the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville.

    “The 14 remarkable cars and three motorcycles on view in Sculpted in Steel were crafted from the finest materials of the time,” said Gross. “They remain today some of the most exciting, iconic, and refined designs of the 20th century.”


Exhibition highlights include:

classic car mfah sclupted steel

· 1930 Henderson KJ Streamline. Henderson was a division of Excelsior Motor Mfg. & Supply Co., a competitor of Harley-Davidson. The custom, one-of-a-kind Model KJ, designed by O. Ray Courtney, is perhaps the fullest expression of streamlining in a motorcycle. Its teardrop-shaped body, fuselage-like fenders, and chromed grille and details unite to form a unified image of speed.

classic car mfah sclupted steel

· 1934 Edsel Fords Model 40 Special Speedster. Designed by Ford Motor Company styling chief E.T. “Bob” Gregorie with Ford Aircraft Division fabricators, the Model 40 Special Speedster was built specifically for the company’s president, Edsel B. Ford, and is the only of its kind ever made. Its low-slung design incorporates both racing and aeronautical elements.

classic car mfah sclupted steel

· 1936 Stout Scarab. Designed by William Bushnell Stout for his own engineering firm, the Scarab features a streamlined, beetle-like shape and a rear engine. In the Scarab, Stout created a living area on wheels: interior features include movable seats, a folding table, and a backseat that folds into a couch. For these aspects and its capacity to carry numerous passengers, the Scarab is often described as the precursor to the minivan. Fewer than 10 were produced.

classic car mfah sclupted steel

· 1937 Delahaye 135 MS Roadster. Created by elite French coach builders Joseph Figoni and Ovidio Falaschi for the 1937 Paris Auto Show, the Delahaye 135 MS Roadster features an all-aluminum body, as well as leather interior and matching carpets provided by Hermès. The disappearing front windshield, sleek convertible top, and fluid chrome detailing are signatures of Figoni & Falaschi.

classic car mfah sclupted steel

· 1938 Tatra T97. Designed in Czechoslovakia by Hans Ledwinka, the Tatra T97 embraced the teardrop form of streamlining by licensing the concepts developed by Zeppelin designer Paul Jaray. Its prominent rear dorsal fin, “fast-back,” and integrated fenders projected a futuristic, speed-oriented form. The T97 was the smallest model that embodied Tatra’s new design philosophy.

Sculpted in Steel will be complemented by a few events Lectures, happy hours, concerts, and mixers you don't want to miss! Opening Day Lecture: Behind the Headlights: Meet the Talented Engineers and Designers who created These Rolling Sculptures Sunday, February 21, 2016, from 3 to 4 p.m. Ken Gross, guest curator of Sculpted in Steel, and former director of the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles will explain more about why the exhibition’s 17 cars and motorcycles are so significant. Gross also discusses how the vehicles were found, preserved, and restored, driving you to think about automotive design in a new way. Admission is $10 for the general public and $5 for MFAH members. Exhibition Lecture: Notes of Steel: American Music in the Machine Age, 1900-1950 Thursday, February 25, 2016, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Listen closely while Howard Pollack, professor at the Moores School of Music, University of Houston, takes you through the musical melodies of the Machine Age, an era defined by the Art Deco style. Admission is $10 for the general public and $5 for MFAH members. DEFINE at the MFAH Saturdays, February 20, March 19, April 16, 9 to 10 a.m. Sculpt your muscles of steel and ride in a stationary-bike class from DEFINE body & mind, Houston’s first specialized indoor cycling studio. Kick your fitness goals into gear with a high-intensity, full-body workout set to energetic music provided by a live DJ. After class, relax with complimentary coffee and healthy breakfast options from the MFA Café. DEFINE foods offers up juices, protein bars, and granola as well. Enjoy the Sculpted in Steel exhibition, where docent guides will be on hand to answer questions and facilitate dialog about these elegant vehicles. Admission is $35 per person and includes the one-hour class and admission to the exhibition. For tickets visit www.mfah.org/define. Happy Hour Thursdays Thursdays, February 25 to May 26, 6 to 8 p.m. Each Thursday while Sculpted in Steel is on view, the Museum will be adding some extra fuel to Happy Hour Thursdays. Along with exhibition-inspired specialty cocktails, beats from a local DJ, and delicious bites from the night's food truck, there will be antique cars on display. Discover everything from early-European cars to Woodies to motorcycles and take advantage of free general admission. Admission is free. Drinks will be for sale at the bar. Only ages 21+ may purchase and consume alcoholic beverages. Cars + Cocktails Thursday, March 24 and May 5, 2016, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Sip on hand-crafted cocktails by Mongoose Versus Cobra while taking a step back into the Art Deco period. This exclusive event includes five cocktails, light bites, and a tour through the Sculpted in Steel exhibition. Admission is $70 for the general public and $60 for MFAH members. Lecture and Performance: Swingin' at the Savoy: Dance from the Big Band Era Thursday, April 21, 2016, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Featuring an unforgettable presentation from Andrea Cody, choreographer and founding director of Dance Houston, with vintage video and dance performances by members of the Houston Hepcats and Swing Rhapsody. The presentation will be followed by Spring Swing. Admission is $10 for the general public and $5 for MFAH members. Interactive Dance Performance: Spring Swing Thursday, April 21, 2016, 7:30 to 9 p.m. The Houston Swing Dance Society invites you on a journey through history with moves from the Swing Era and live music by Bryan Anthony and the Gentlemen's Club. All are welcome to join in the fun and pick up some new moves. No partner necessary, 1930s period attire encouraged. Admission is free. Music In the Galleries Saturday, April 30, 2016, from 2 to 2:30 p.m. and 3 to 3:30 p.m. Da Camera Houston Young Artists will perform near the entrance to the exhibition Sculpted in Steel: Art Deco Automobiles and Motorcycles, 1929-1940. The curves and grace of the Art Deco machines on display continue to inspire awe in those that see them. This pair of pop-up concerts will feature twentieth century American composers, like Aaron Copland and John Adams that examine the relationship between human and machine as well as their love affair for the open road. Admission for these lobby performances is free with general Museum admission. MFAH members and children ages 12 & under always receive free admission. Runway Show: Fashion Fusion Thursday, May, 19, 2016, 7 to 9 p.m. The MFAH is partnering with Houston Community College’s award-winning fashion design program for a competition and runway show inspired by Sculpted in Steel. The competition challenges young designers to create original, contemporary interpretations of Art Deco styles inspired by the exhibition and will conclude at the Fashion Fusion runway show when a distinguished panel of judges evaluate the top twenty garments and select the top three winners of the competition. The winners will receive prize packages and the opportunity to have their original designs on display in the Kinder Foundation Education Center Gallery following the show. Fashion Fusion will coincide with Happy Hour Thursdays, with access to a cash bar. Admission is free; Limited reserved seating is $25.






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