Day: November 21, 2020

70 Years of Automotive Design

In 1985, the Detroit Institute of Art hosted an exhibit called “Detroit Style: Automotive Form 1925-1950,” which the institute called a showcase “that bridges the gap between industrial design and the fine arts as it demonstrates the aesthetics and history of automotive design in a period now considered classic.” Thirty-five years later, the DIA completes the design story with a new exhibit called “Detroit Style: Car Design in the Motor City, 1950-2020,” open now and running until June 27, 2021.

By the 1950s, motor vehicles had begun their transition into commodities, not yet as pervasive and presumed as electric light and ice, but swiftly cruising that way. Even today, though, the car is a peculiar product—obliged to run as reliably as an appliance while still expressing an artful style that precludes it from being regarded as an everyday widget. Cars are expensive to produce, taxing to buy, and

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