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Cultural Landscape of “People, Car and Life” under the Lens

By Beijing Auto Museum Source: Beijing Auto Museum Published:2016-05-19

On May 18th, 2016, Life on Wheels - Photography Exhibition of Chinese and American Automobile Culture opened at Beijing Auto Museum. This exhibition attracted a large number of visitors, especially car enthusiasts and shutterbugs. Life on Wheels was hosted by Beijing Auto Museum and J Young Art USA. Coinciding with “China – U.S Tourism Year”, it was designed in line with the theme of 2016 International Museum Day– Museums and Cultural Landscapes, aiming to play the role of a bridge to enhance the communication between China and America in automobile culture, so that China could establish its automotive dialogue with the outside world and learn from their research and achievements of car culture. The exhibition, through the photography, displayed the development of American automobile culture and the modern auto life in China, demonstrating the unique charm of “auto life, auto culture and auto art”.

As was divided into five parts, namely, “the old miracle, the golden time of American automobile, the origin of modern life – auto culture, the charm of industrial art – auto art, and China on the move”, the exhibition showed car culture from different aspects: the new model of American automobile presented strong contrast with the classic American vintage car; different car plates among the 50 American states reflected various local customs; the auto art integrating steel, practicality and aesthetics, illustrated the development history of auto culture for visitors; “China on the move” displayed the photography of car lovers in China, which presented the modern car life in this country. The audience may take this opportunity to review the history of American auto culture, looking back how did this special culture spread into public life, enjoy its golden time, cope with the economic and oil crisis and finally find a way out by innovation. All these could provide reference to China in how to involve, share and give full play to all the factors in auto society to achieve the green, coordinated and innovative development of people, car, life and society.

Apart from the 150 plus pieces of works of 5 international well-known photographic artists, there are a large number of photos taken by Chinese shutterbugs at the exhibition. One highlight at the exhibition, was the “16 cars” shot by Michael Furman, which displayed the world famous vintage cars and the important periods of the automobile development history since 1903. It was said that the first shoot of this 62-year-old artist was a 1963 Chevrolet Corvette, which forged his connection with car and photography from the very beginning. During his 40 years’ career, Michael worked with car collectors and shot the image of the most famous cars in the world. All 5 American photographers, Michael Furman, Jeffrey Jay Foxx, Harrod Blank, Christiana Dittmann, and Bruce L. Mclnnes attended the opening ceremony together and Michael said it was a great opportunity to visit China, present the American auto life to Chinese people and share the idea of American auto culture and auto art.

There were also many photos of personalized “art cars” at the exhibition, including the “button car”— an art car covered with 600,000 buttons, the “California fantasy art car” – a baby truck decorated with copper crafts and coins, the “graffiti car” – with chalk painting all over car body, etc. These remarkable art cars attracted the attention of many visitors.

At the opening ceremony, the special advisor, curator of J Young Art USA , Hai Weilan, talked about the meaning of automobile photography exhibition. And Yang Rui, the director of Beijing Auto Museum mentioned their original intention: “This year marks the 130th anniversary of the invention of automobile and also China – U.S Tourism Year. As one of the greatest inventions in the 20th century, automobile not only shortened the distance among people and countries, but also became a new language form for the international cross-cultural communication. Using automobile as a communication language is exactly the meaning of this exhibition. Although the invention of car in China was delayed for half a century, Chinese ‘car dream’ finally came true. Today in China, car lovers travel a lot by car and use their lens to record the cultural landscape of people, car and life.”At the ceremony, Beijing Auto Museum and Today Art Museum contracted with each other to build “Automotive Art Creation Base”, to stimulate the innovation in car culture through education.

Together with the opening of this photography exhibition, “The National Youth Photography Competition –Green Life on Wheels” kicked off all over the country. The competition was designed to encourage more citizens to participate into green auto life and through the lens of adolescents, to review car’s impact on family life. The winning works will be displayed at Beijing Auto Museum.

The Photography Exhibition on Chinese and American Automobile Culture opens for 4 months, from May to September, 2016. Along with the exhibition, there will be a series of activities at Beijing Auto Museum, including “night at the museum”, “test drive of new energy automobile”. You are warmly welcome to visit.