Venus Over Manhattan Delivers Art in the Form of Cars

by Corinna Kirsch on December 7, 2013 · 0 comments Art Fair

Foreground: Richard Prince, "Vanishing Point (The Artist Cut)," 2012-13.

Foreground: Richard Prince, “Vanishing Point (The Artist Cut),” 2012-13.

Take an elevator to the 7th floor of an open-air parking garage, and you’ll find Piston Head, an exhibition of over a dozen artist-designed cars, motorcycles, and trucks shipped from all over the world. It takes a whole lot of money to make that happen—and it’s that very same display of wealth that perfectly sums up the Miami art fairs. From a Rolls Royce with a wormy, penis-like hood ornament to a Damien Hirst dot-covered Mini Cooper, these undrivable cars make it clear that art is a quite funny, though impractical luxury good. Here, artists range from embracing the gloss of the upper class to shooting it full of holes (Lucien Smith’s rusty, bullet-riddled truck); no matter what, they can’t escape its influence. It’s uncomfortable to admit that this may be the way of the world—and why I’m in Miami—but it’s the truth. Venus Over Manhattan knows how to cater to this crowd—as a plus, the skyline view is gorgeous.

Here lies the remains of what used to be a truck, but what then became a target for an annual machine-gun festival in Kentucky. Now you know that type of festival exists. (Lucien Smith, "The sound of the engine still running and for the last time they locked eyes, together again in the end," 2013.)

Here lies the remains of what used to be a truck, but what then became a target for an annual machine-gun festival in Kentucky. Now you know that type of festival exists. (Lucien Smith, “The sound of the engine still running and for the last time they locked eyes, together again in the end,” 2013.)

One of my favorites: the BHQF's ode to love and violence. Video of Sid and Nancy Spungen plays from the windshield; a mysterious voice brings up the a bullet-point history of Carl Andre and Ana Mendieta, Volkswagen, and Frida Kahlo.

One of my favorites: the BHQF’s ode to love and violence. Video of Sid and Nancy Spungen plays from the windshield; a mysterious voice brings up the a bullet-point history of Carl Andre and Ana Mendieta, Volkswagen, and Frida Kahlo.

At first glance, the trunk to Tom Sachs's  '89 Chevy Caprice looks innocuous enough.

At first glance, the trunk to Tom Sachs’s ’89 Chevy Caprice looks innocuous enough.

Don't let the D.A.R.E bumper sticker fool you, Tom Sachs made one brilliant creepster-mobile, with bomb-making materials in the trunk.

But no. Don’t let the D.A.R.E bumper sticker fool you, Tom Sachs made one brilliant creepster-mobile, with bomb-making materials in the trunk. The inside dash has a note reminding the driver “DO NOT CONSENT TO A SEARCH.”

Franz West topped off this Rolls Royce with a penis. Or a curly french fry.

Franz West topped off this Rolls Royce with a curly penis. Or a curly french fry.

Okay, so there was one definite not-a-car art in the exhibition. Joshua Callahan's "F150 2D" is a legit one-to-one charcoal rubbing of the newest brand of Ferrari. And now it's on the ground getting dirty through the run of the exhibition.

Okay, so there was one definite not-a-car art in the exhibition. Joshua Callahan’s “F150 2D” is a legit one-to-one charcoal rubbing of the newest brand of Ferrari. And now it’s on the ground getting dirty through the run of the exhibition. In the back left is an Italian race car designed by Salvatore Scarpitta, an artist of Leo Castelli’s who once owned a racing team sponsored by Leo Castelli.

I checked—it's legal to drive the Richard Prince car.

I checked—it’s legal to drive the Richard Prince car.

Richard Phillips made this Playboy car in collaboration with Playboy. Insert some type of "the world of art and commerce has come full circle" joke here. Ugh.

Richard Phillips made this Playboy car in collaboration with Playboy. Insert some type of “the world of art and commerce has come full circle” joke here. Ugh.

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