In Europe on the other hand, it was the Nouveau Réalisme movement exemplified by the works of Arman, César, Gérard Deschamps, Mimmo Rotella and Jean Tinguely that transformed the commodities of machine and automobile into art, whether by splashing them across posters or by layering, compressing or degenerating their material forms. In European varieties of Pop Art as well, as practiced for example by Konrad Klapheck, Paul Stämpfli and Franz Gertsch, and also in the work of artists exhibiting media-reflective tendencies such as Gerhard Richter and Wolf Vostell, the car often serves as a pictorial protagonist or a mirror of social developments. Wolf Vostell (“Das Theater ist auf der Strasse”) and Allan Kaprow, two of the main figures in Happening and Performance Art have been chosen for the exhibition. Allan Kaprow’ s 1961 “Yard,” made of towering stacks of tires, has been restaged for the show.
The stroll through the art history of automotive inspiration from the Futurists to today is accompanied in the exhibition by a second, theme-based, thread. The visitor can choose to approach the exhibition by way of art that fell under the sway of commodity fetishism (lacquer and chrome, the car acquisition as purchase of fictions and redirection activity, assembly line production and accumulation) with works by Ant Farm, Arman, Edward Burtynsky, Jan Dibbets, Hans Hansen, Peter Keetman, Len Lye, Hendrik Spohler, Peter Stämpfli and Patrick Weidmann; or through the art of religious fetishism (auto da fé, “Déesse,” nail fetish and car cemetery) with works by Kudjoe Affutu, Chris Burden, Jordi Colomer, Walker Evans, Jitish Kallat, Annika Larsson, Superflex and Dale Yudelman; or as sexual fetishism (phallic extension, motor potency, female curves, the car as bachelor machine) with works by Liz Cohen, Sylvie Fleury, Wenyu Ji, Allan Kaprow, Richard Prince, Pipilotti Rist, Bruno Rousseaud and Franck Scurti. Further apotheoses of the automotive state of mind can be found in rooms focusing on themes such as the accident, with works by Brassaï, James Dean, Robert Frank, Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Mickry 3, Arnold Odermatt, Roman Signer and Wolf Vostell; on speed, with works by Horst Baumann, Géo Ham, Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Richard Prince, Man Ray and Anton Stankowski; and on traffic, with works by Andreas Feininger, Robert Frank, Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Julian Opie, June Bum Park, Peter Roehr, Samuel Rousseau, Bruno Ruckstuhl, Michael Sailstorfer, Stefan Sous and Peter Stämpfli. Finally, a further gallery is devoted to the subjects of “Retreat and Flight” or “Living Room and Outer Space,” featuring works by Michel de Broin, Edward Kienholz, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Zilla Leutenegger, Thomas Mailänder, Ahmet Ögüt, Betsabeé Romero and Andrea Zittel. In the middle, set up as axis of the entire show, is Damian Ortega’s large-scale work "Cosmic Thing,” a VW Beetle exploded through the space. At the entrance of the exhibition the visitors will be able to enjoy a selection of Andrew Bush’s Cardriver portraits “on the move”. An automotive love story compiled by Virgil Widrich out of famous film scenes will run continuously in the museum auditorium during the show.