Sensuous Steel: Art Deco Automobiles Opens at the Frist Center for the Visual
Arts June 14, 2013
NASHVILLE, Tenn., Feb. 8, 2013
NASHVILLE, Tenn., Feb. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- This summer, the
Frist Center for the Visual Arts will present Sensuous Steel: Art Deco
Automobiles, an exhibition of unique and luxurious autos from the 1930s and
'40s. Sensuous Steel includes 18 automobiles and three motorcycles drawn from
some of the most renowned car collectors and collections in the automotive
world. Organized by Guest Curator Ken Gross, former Petersen Automotive Museum
director, the exhibition will be on view in the Center's Ingram Gallery from
June 14 through September 15, 2013.
While today automotive manufacturers often strive for economy and efficiency,
there was a time when elegance reigned. Like the Frist Center's historic
building, the automobiles included in Sensuous Steel display the classic grace
and modern luxury of Art Deco design. An eclectic, machine-inspired decorative
style that thrived between the two World Wars, Art Deco combined craft motifs
with industrial materials and lavish embellishments. The movement began in
Paris in the early 1920s and was propelled to prominence in 1927 with the
success of the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial
Arts. Automakers embraced the sleek iconography of motion and
aircraft-inspired materials connotative of Art Deco, creating memorable
automobiles that still thrill all who see them.
"Sensuous Steel is the first major museum auto exhibition devoted entirely to
Art Deco automobiles, and there could be no more fitting a venue than the
Frist Center's landmark historic Art Deco building, which was completed in
1934," notes Frist Center Executive Director Dr. Susan H. Edwards. "Art Deco
styling influenced everything from architecture to sleek passenger trains and
luxury liners, furniture, appliances, jewelry, objets d'art, signage,
fashionable clothing and, of course, automobiles. The works in this exhibition
convey the breadth, diversity, and stunning artistry of cars designed in the
Art Deco style."
"Rapidly changing and ever-evolving, the automobile became the perfect metal
canvas upon which industrial designers expressed the vital spirit of the
interwar period," explains Guest Curator Ken Gross. "To give the illusion of
dramatic movement and forward thrust, cars of the 1930s and '40s merged gentle
curves with angular edges. These automobiles were made from the finest
materials and sported beautifully crafted ornamentation, geometric grillwork,
and the elegant miniature statuary of hood ornaments.
"The classic cars of the Art Deco age remain today as among the most visually
exciting, iconic and refined designs of the twentieth century," Mr. Gross
Among the automobiles included in Sensuous Steel are:
o1929 Cord L-29 Cabriolet- Designed by Alan Leamy who is known for styling
the famed Auburn Speedster, the Cord L-29 Cabriolet was the first U.S.
front-drive luxury car. It was painted its notable burnt orange color by
its former owner, Frank Lloyd Wright.
o1937 Delahaye 135 MS Roadster by Figoni and Falaschi- Created for the 1937
Paris Auto Show, this car was called "a Paris gown on wheels." The
roadster features aluminum coachwork and a leather interior by Hermes.
Most significant are four features that were patented by Figoni and
Falaschi, which included a roll-down disappearing windshield.
o1934 Edsel Ford Model 40 Speedster- Designed by E.T. "Bob" Gregorie
specifically for Edsel B. Ford, the speedster features a two-seater
aluminum alloy body patterned after an Indy race car. It is the only one
of its kind ever made.
o1934 Pierce-Arrow Silver Arrow Sedan- Designed by Phillip Wright, the
Arrow Sedan was originally built for the Chicago Century of Progress
Exposition (1933-34). This car was the epitome of luxury with a price tag
of $10,000 (roughly $170,000 today). Only five of these sedans were made,
with three of them surviving to this day.
o1935 Stout Scarab- Bill Stout, an aircraft engineer who developed the Ford
Tri-Motor aircraft, began creating a radical sedan concept in the early
1930s. The end result, the Scarab, featured a roomy interior that boasted
moveable seats and a small table. This unique auto anticipated the first
Ken Gross served as guest curator for The Allure of the Automobile, a
nationally acclaimed exhibition displayed at Atlanta's High Museum of Art in
2010; additionally, he developed a revised version of the exhibition for the
Portland Art Museum the following year. Gross curated Speed: The Art of the
Performance Automobile last year at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts in Salt Lake
City. A highly respected automotive journalist for more than 40 years, Gross
writes for numerous publications including AutoWeek, Playboy, Hagerty's
Magazine, Sports Car Market, Motor Trend Classic, Popular Mechanics,
msnautos.com, Old Cars Weekly and The Rodder's Journal. A noted authority on
automobiles, he has judged at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance for 24
years. Gross also judges at the Amelia Island Concours and was the Chief Judge
at the Rodeo Drive Concours d'Elegance. Additionally, Gross has received many
awards including the 2009 IAMA Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2009 Lee
Iacocca Award, the 2008 Washington Auto Press "Golden Quill Award," the
Society of Automotive Historians' "Cugnot Award," and "The James Valentine
Memorial Award" for excellence in automotive historical research.
The exhibition will be accompanied by two audio tours, one for adults and one
Admission to Sensuous Steel: Art Deco Automobiles is free for Frist Center
members and $10.00 for adults. Visitors 18 and younger are admitted free of
charge. Advance tickets can be purchased on site at the Frist Center beginning
April 1, 2013.
Beginning April 1, Frist Center members may reserve tickets by calling the
Frist Center Member Hotline at 615.744.3248.
To accommodate out-of-town visitors, a limited number of non-member advance
tickets for each day of the exhibition will be available online starting April
1, 2013 through NowPlayingNashville.com, an initiative of the Community
Foundation of Middle Tennessee.
Each order carries a $1.50 convenience charge that benefits the Community
Foundation. Purchasers will download a voucher from NowPlayingNashville.com
that will be redeemable at the Frist Center for exhibition admission on the
specific date for which the voucher has been bought. Tickets purchased through
NowPlayingNashville.com are non-refundable.
During the run of Sensuous Steel, Nashville's Lane Motor Museum and the Frist
Center will offer reciprocal admission discounts when ticket stubs are
presented. Each ticket stub from the Lane Motor Museum is good for one
half-price admission at the Frist, and each Frist Center ticket stub can be
used at the Lane Motor Museum to receive a discount on a single ticket. The
Lane Motor Museum is located at 702 Murfreesboro Pike, Nashville. Learn more
Sensuous Steel Hotel & Ticket Packages
Unique all-inclusive travel packages to see Sensuous Steel: Art Deco
Automobiles will be available through the Nashville Convention & Visitors
Corp. website. (www.visitmusiccity.com) In addition to lodging and admission
to Sensuous Steel, packages also include tickets to Nashville's famed Lane
Motor Museum, and more. For information and to book your package, go to
This exhibition was organized by the Frist Center for the Visual Arts with
Guest Curator Ken Gross.
The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, published by
Peter Bodensteiner and Stance & Speed, LLC in conjunction with the Frist
Center.All automobile photographs are by Peter Harholdt.The catalogue
contains scholarly essays by exhibition curator Ken Gross, who will discuss
automobile design in the culture of the 1920s and 1930s, and independent
historian Thomas Mellins, whose essay places the automobiles in the context of
the international explosion of the Art Deco style in design, architecture, and
the visual arts. Individual object entries are by Ken Gross, Jonathan Stein,
and Richard Adatto. Ken Gross is the editor.
Lead Sponsors: Barbara, Jack, Sara, and Richard Bovender
Platinum Sponsor: The HCA Foundation on behalf of HCA and the TriStar Family
Media Sponsor: SportsCarDigest.com
Hospitality Sponsor: Union Station Hotel
Member Preview Sponsor: Chubb Insurance
Thank you to Belmont University and Ocean Way Recording Studios who are
donating recording time and professional expertise for the production of the
The Frist Center for the Visual Arts is supported in part by the Metro
Nashville Arts Commission, the Tennessee Arts Commission, and the National
Endowment for the Arts.
About the Frist Center
Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the Frist Center for the
Visual Arts, located at 919 Broadway in downtown Nashville, Tenn., is an art
exhibition center dedicated to presenting the finest visual art from local,
regional, U.S. and international sources in a program of changing exhibitions.
The Frist Center's Martin ArtQuest Gallery, open until 5:30 p.m. each day,
features interactive stations relating to Frist Center exhibitions. Gallery
admission to the Frist Center is free for visitors 18 and younger and to Frist
Center members. With possible exception for some specially-ticketed
exhibitions, Frist Center admission is $10.00 for adults and $7.00 for
seniors, military and college students with ID. College students are admitted
free Thursday and Friday evenings, 5–9 p.m. Discounts are offered for groups
of 10 or more with advance reservation by calling (615) 744-3247.The Frist
Center is open seven days a week: Mondays through Wednesdays, and Saturdays,
10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.; Thursdays and Fridays, 10 a.m.–9 p.m. and Sundays, 1–5:30
p.m., with the Frist Center Cafe opening at noon. Additional information is
available by calling (615) 244-3340 or by visiting our website at
SOURCE Frist Center for the Visual Arts
Contact: Ellen Jones Pryor: +1-615-243-1311, firstname.lastname@example.org; or Maggie
Carrigan, +1-615-744-3351, email@example.com
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