When the Future had Fins: American Automotive Designs and Concepts, 1959-1973
Christopher West Mount Gallery, Pacific Design Center
8687 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood, CA
Through May 20
Once upon a time the American car industry was king. Nothing captures the prestige, aspirations, and mythology of Detroit’s heyday quite like the working sketches and drawings used to develop and promote the land boats we used to call automobiles.
A new show at Christopher W. Mount Gallery focuses on sketches from designers at the “Big Three”—General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler—from 1959 to 1973, when those companies were as important as Google, Apple, and Facebook.
The sleek, colorful cars with their dynamic angles and large hoods capture the sexiness and muscle that is long gone in today’s car culture. Visionaries like Ford’s John Samsen and GM’s Bill Michalak had a mastery and an expressive craftsmanship on paper that is far removed from the digitized and sanitized world of 21st century rendering.