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Drawing on the wealth of automobile-related design, art and architecture in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, Automania takes an in-depth look at an industrial object that changed the world. From its first appearance as a plaything for the rich in the 1890s to its establishment as a utilitarian necessity of modern life, the car has transformed the ways in which we live, work and enjoy ourselves, inspiring countless designers and artists working in various mediums.
Some have viewed the automobile as the ultimate expression of technological progress, capable of bringing about widespread economic growth and positive societal change. Others have seen it as the enemy of humanistic values, leading only to rising fatalities and the proliferation of hazardous waste and pollution. But all have recognized it as central to contemporary life, design and culture.
Automania traces the rich cultural history of the car while giving pride of place to the ten vehicles in MoMA’s collection, which mark pivotal moments in the history of automotive design. These include the Jeep M-38A1 Utility Truck, the Citroën DS 23 Sedan, the Volkswagen Type 1 Sedan, the Fiat 500f City Car, the Cisitalia 202 GT Car, the Ferrari Formula 1 Racing Car 641/2, the Porsche 911 Coupé, the Airstream Bambi Travel Trailer, the Jaguar E-Type Roadster and the Smart Car Coupé.