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Riding in Style

The Roaring Twenties marked a profound shift in American life. Technological innovations like the telephone and radio allowed for increased communication, while advances in art and design reflected a new interest in pop culture and exposed some troubling trends toward consumerism. But nothing symbolized New America more than the automobile. The sleek designs, power, and affordability introduced the middle class to the possibilities of the open road. Independence was democratized. Highways were built, and people flocked to the suburbs. By the late ’20s, millions of Americans owned cars. And generation after generation wanted its set of wheels oozing with Don-Draper-esque style and sophistication.

“Styled for the Road: The Art of Automobile Design, 1908-1948” explores the role of artists in the development of automobiles, roadways, and related advertising materials. More than 80 designs, some presented publicly for the first time, demonstrate the evolution in the automobile blueprint and its impact on American culture. In addition, the hosting museum, The Wolfsonian at Florida International University (1001 Washington Ave., Miami Beach) will offer lectures throughout the year by contemporary automotive designers like BMW’s Chris Bangle. The opening reception is planned for Friday, and the exhibit runs through March 14. Admission is $7. Call 305-531-1001, or visit wolfsonian.org.
Thursdays-Sundays, noon. Starts: Oct. 16. Continues through March 14, 2009

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Erica K. Landau

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