Art and engineering collide in fresh and ambitious exhibition in the heart of the Midlands

Art and engineering collide in fresh exhibition in the heart of the Midlands

A range of 14 contemporary and urban artists have come together to reimagine the motor car.

Cartists is a new free exhibition at Coventry Transport Museum which fuses art and engineering; transforming cars into works of art.

This is an innovative overlap of industrial design and artistic imagination, and the Midlands-based museum is setting out to shake up perceptions of the automotive industry which its city is famous for.

Political statements, emotive personal journeys, whimsical fun and spectacular sculpture will sit side by side in the most avant-garde and risky project the museum has undertaken to date.

Promising to be the breakthrough show of the summer, Cartists brings together a cross-section of the most contemporary creative minds. The UK based artists and designers will create an extraordinary display of bespoke artworks using cars and their body parts, transforming the exhibition space into a scrapyard of imagination.

And with Coventry vying to be 2021 City of Culture, organisers hope the exhibition will send out a timely reminder of the region’s social and cultural heritage – and are shouting out loud their intention to be a serious player in the future cultural landscape of the UK.

Inspiration for the exhibition comes from the Art Car movement of the 1960s, which brought psychedelic flamboyance to the relative uniformity of motor vehicles. Tired of blending in with the crowd, artists began transforming them into mobile works of art and self-expression – bringing individual ideas, values, beliefs, and imagination to the open road.

Over the last 50 years, Art Cars have been a cult phenomenon, with regular showcases at festivals across the world such as Burning Man and Wasteland Weekend, and famous artists such as Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol creating their own fantastical vehicles.

Now, with a 2017 UK twist, the ambitious Cartists project will challenge a wide range of internationally recognised artists from all creative fields including Patrick Murphy (interdisciplinary artist), Christiaan Nagel (street art sculptor), Dale Vn Marshall (graffiti artist), Cityzen Kane (street art sculptor), Pahnl (street art spraypainter), Carrie Reichardt (craftivist), Emerald Faerie (lighting and jewellery designer) and many more.

Celebrating Coventry icons, chandeliers, ghost busters and much more, the cars will be available for an exclusive first look on Friday July 14, when the museum will host a night of DJs, street food and creative fun for over-18s to embrace and absorb the incredible display.

Jo Muskett, Director of Marketing and Communications at Coventry Transport Museum and the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum said:  “The Transport Museum has a loyal fan base. Many have personal family connections, stories of migration and careers which supported both the legacy of British Motoring in the city and the impact of these local innovations around the world.

“The concept of this exhibition takes that legacy of innovation and design a step further – to show cars in a new light and subvert some of the expectations or preconceptions that people have when hearing about a museum of transport.

“Our hope is that this will fire up a new way of experiencing the motoring heritage of the city, to inspire new generations to think outside the box and foster a culture of ingenuity and dynamic thinking in the city.

“Of course we know the exhibition may be surprising, or even a shock to the system for some – but we feel the risk is worth it to play our part in championing the next generation of creative thinking in Coventry. With the City of Culture 2021 bid fast approaching, now is the perfect time to be shouting about contemporary creativity in the city.”

The Cartist exhibition is free to all and runs from Saturday July 15 – Sunday October 29 2017.