January 22 – May 1, 2022

LUSTER: Realism and Hyperrealism in Contemporary Automobile and Motorcycle Painting

Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, cars and motorcycles have not only been ubiquitous on the nation's streets and highways but also in film, top forty hits, and in art. With the emergence of photo-realism in the 1960s, motor vehicles assumed a special place of distinction as subject matter in the iconography of American art.

“LUSTER: Realism and Hyperrealism in Contemporary Automobile and Motorcycle Painting” is a traveling museum exhibition comprised of over 55 paintings by nearly 15 of today's realists and hyperrealists who specialize in automobiles and motorcycles as their primary subject of choice.

Exhibiting artists include (in alphabetical order): A.D. Cook (Las Vegas, NV), Randy Ford (Eastampton, NJ), Allan Gorman (West Orange, NJ), Marc G. Jones (Loveland, CO), Cheryl Kelley (Northern California), Richard Lewis (Los Angeles, CA), Lory Lockwood (New Orleans, LA), Robert Petillo (Hardyston, NJ), Kris Preslan (Lake Oswego, OR), Joseph Santos (Buena Park, CA), Ken Scaglia (Weston, CT), John E. Schaeffer (La Grange, TX), Guenevere "Moto Painter" Schwien (Portland, OR), and Harold Zabady (Camp Hill, PA). Their work exemplifies the very best of automotive painting being done today. It builds on that of the first wave of photo-realists in the '60s and '70s, including Harold Cleworth, Don Eddy, Richard Estes, and Ralph Goings.

“LUSTER” encompasses a broad range of cars and motorcycles, from vintage vehicles from the 1940s and before to more recent classics. During the post-World War II boom years, cheap gas and the advent of the Interstate Highway System in 1956 propelled automotive design and sales. In the 1950s, the industry reached new heights by offering consumers increased horsepower for thrust and speed and, more artfully, integrated design, which was dramatized in the 1960s with features such as tail fins. LUSTER features paintings of passenger automobiles from those boom years and since, plus a range of motorcycles and racing vehicles.

Like the shiny automobiles and motorcycles portrayed by the exhibit's artists, its paintings can be characterized by the luster that permeates their imagery. Chrome ornamentation and trim together with enameled bodywork, glass, and interior fabrication to meet the needs of purpose-built vehicles of all sorts: these are the surfaces that recent realists and hyperrealists have exploited to generate masterpieces.

Serving as curator for “LUSTER” Realism and Hyperrealism in Contemporary Automobile and Motorcycle Painting” is David J. Wagner, who earned his Ph.D. in American Studies and served as a museum director for 20 years.

Museum members will have the opportunity to preview “LUSTER” on January 21 from 5 – 6:30 pm before the exhibition opens to the public on January 22 at 9:30 am. The exhibit is included with admission and will be on display through May 1, 2022.

The exhibition is presented by David J. Wagner, Ph.D., Curator/Tour Director David J. Wagner, L.L.C.

Artist Title Year Subject Medium Lender Credit
A.D. Cook Indian Summer 2000 Indian Chief Motorcycle, Lent by Dealer to Artist for a, Autumn Ride in Portland, Oregon Acrylic on Canvas Collection of Mark McAlister
Randy Ford 1950's 1989 Early Automobile Painting by the Artist of a 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Acrylic on Canvas
Allan Gorman Ruby & Sapphire 2014 Pair of 2014 Harley-Davidson Road King, High-output 103’s Oil on Linen
John E. Schaeffer Mirror, Mirror 2017 1939 Ford Hotrod Acrylic on Canvas
Harold D. Zabady Ferrari Testarossa 2015 1960 Ferrari Race Car Oil on Linen