Art: Andy Warhol's Seven Cadillacs

Written by Kurt | Saturday, 19 January 2013 19:36

Andy Warhol Seven CadillacsSome weeks ago we looked into some art by the Italian Futurist movement, depicting a car at speed, or at least a silhouette of it. Let's continue this trend by looking at another example of the car in art. This time done by a rather less conspicuous figure, but the highly celebrated Andy Warhol. Undoubtably every single one of you has come across his work at some stage, seeing that his work mostly revolves around object from American consumer culture. You'll see his trademark Campbell's soup tins painting re-published on t-shirts, bags and whatever else. Warhol's work was pop art, art for art's sake, or if you want to have a conversation on this topic with people of an Arts and Humanities persuasion; l'art pour l'art. No specific story, no moral story. In fact Warhol himself once described his work as: "Making money is art, and working is art and good business is the best art." Despite this lack of interest in a moral story, by the artist himself, contemporary art critics nonetheless, as they do, manage to give it a moral significance and some social credibility by pointing out that: "Warhol had captured something irresistible about the zeitgeist of American culture in the 1970s." In that light let's examine briefly one of Warhol's more interesting works for the petrolhead, called Seven Cadillacs, made in 1962 which, unsurpisingly, features seven Cadillacs. Not whole Cadillacs though, but as the eye progresses to the bottom of the painting, bit by bit, the Cadillac is more exposed. Creating, in my opinion, a sense of movement despite of course being part of a static painting. This very much harks back to the chronophotography of the nineteenth century, most notably by a chap called Edward Muybridge, which cleverly managed to depict speed in a series of photos, each depicting another stage of the movement of the subject. What else is there to say? Not much I suppose, oh the perils of pop art, it just shuts one up, momentarily.

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Video: Onboard 1961 Ferrari 250 GT Drogo

Written by Kurt | Thursday, 27 December 2012 23:29

The Goodwood Revival usually yields some interesting Youtube clips, this year was no exception. A search just threw this fantastic onboard video of a Ferrari 250 GT Drogo up. It's a shame of course you can't see the beautiful exterior of this suave Italian racing machine, but hey, at least there is those gorgeous clocks draped all over the dashboard. And then there's the sound of course, the 12 cylinders of the 2953cc engine create a very impressive snarl. Though, for some reason, it seems to have some connotations with a NASCAR V8, but that might be just due to the quality of the microphone used. The lucky driver of this car is Hans Hugenholtz, who puts up a great show. Taking it by the scruff of the neck Hugenholtz majestically guides this, apparently, short wheelbased 250 over the fast Goodwood track in the RAC TT celebration. Hugenholtz is well known for being a good and fast driver, though, that might have something to do with the fact that he always seems to have the fastest cars. Owning an eclectic range of cars he surely knows what's good (we're still looking forward to seeing him take his newly-acquired Hirondelle sports car from the 50s to the track). There are actually two parts to this video so do take a look at the one underneath, where the steering wheel is handed to former Indycar ace Danny Sullivan. So, in total about an hour of Ferrari video material, we don't expect you to watch all of it though, you would have to be the most extreme of V12 fans to sit through that..

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Art: Luigi Russolo's "Dynamism of a car"

Written by Kurt | Saturday, 03 November 2012 23:28

luigi-russolo-dynamism-of-a-carIf we go back into time a bit, to the early twentieth century to be precise, the 'motor car' was still a bit of an oddity, unobtainable for the common man, reserved to the upper classes but clearly a machine with huge potential, one that could change the world. It did of course, years later when manufacturers geared up towards mass production. In the tenties of the last century though, this certainly wasn't the case in Europe. Still, the automobile fascinated the people, not least a bunch of anarchic intellectuals from Italy with a questionable political agenda (they held fascism in high regard). Interestingly, though, they were also a bunch of talented artists who loved speed, movement and thus the automobile. Futurists they were called, their ringleader being writer Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, who published the Futurist Manifesto after going through a near-death experience whilst crashing his Bugatti. Read the Manifesto and you'll see why the car was such an important aspect in the movement. Unsurprisingly it was the subject of many pieces of art the movement produced (read on for some examples).

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Video: Raging bulls never disappoint

Written by Kurt | Friday, 12 October 2012 18:56

Disproportionate proportions, a mighty growl, an aggressive stance, a fiery hue covering the masculine shapes. No, we are in fact not talking about some wonderful creature from the animal kingdom here, we are actually talking about a car. It might not come as a surprise but we are actually talking about a Lamborghini Miura here, a P400S. But, I can imagine it might sound like some commentary usually found on the pages of National Geographic Magazine. due to the animalistic nature of these cars, one usually ends up, when describing them, with some misty sentence that could well be used to describe a raging bull. Which is probably why there is a raging bull in Lamborghini's logo (okay this is not the official story of course, but it's a good story and helps keeping this blob of text from dragging on too much). What is comes down to, is that a Miura is a fascinating car, picture perfect, or film perfect. Some man on the interweb obviously thought the same, which is why he made the video above. Finally a good quality video from the passenger seat, some knowledgeable comments here and there, but above all it comes with a great sound track. It's not a hugely exciting drive but it's certainly one of those videos that manage to capture the essence of a car's character very well.

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Spotted: Two Commie cars in London

Written by Kurt | Sunday, 07 October 2012 23:13

london-eastgermancars-ddr-wartuburg-trabant

I guess it's not everyday that one can spot two East German cars in a row in the very heart of Central London, but I happened to stumble onto two of these dapper Germans right there. There they were, in a rather tatty condition, the blue one a Trabant and the other one a rather less obiquitous Wartburg 353 Tourist. It made for a great contrast with the hugely expensive red-brick mansion blocks just behind it (FYI you probably can't even get a 1 bedroom property there for under £500,000). I wonder who's the owner of the cars, does he live there? It did say resident permit holders only on the parking sign, so I guess the owner is one and the same person. So who could it be, someone rich to live there and mad enough to drive around in these cars, a banker with a great sense of humour perhaps? A rich marxist? Some dazed university professor (this bit of London happens to be riddled riddled with universities)? A former East German ambassador? Well, I guess we'll never know. Though, do enjoy the photos (that I sadly had to take with my awful camera phone).

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