Getting High on Big Ideas: Dream Cars Exhibit Hits Atlanta for Limited Time

Written by Jennifer Colosimo | Photography courtesy of High Museum of Art

buickKen Gross, consulting curator for the High Museum Atlanta’s newest exhibit, Dream Cars, said he was 15 when Buick introduced a car with no rearview mirrors and a backup camera installed on the dashboard. The idea was short-lived and brushed off… until almost 60 years later, as it is in the works of becoming a federally regulated standard option on all new models.

Newfangled and futuristic ideas of the 20th century, like the Buick’s, are what make up the 17 rare models lining the halls at the museum this summer. From the world’s first electric bubble car to the early beginnings of what became today’s minivan, the exhibition brings innovation and design of the past to the forefront.

“If you can’t find the kind of car you want, design it,” said Sarah Schleuning, curator of decorative arts and design, comparing the underlying theme to this exhibition to a famous Beverly Cleary quote. “We’ve really pushed the envelope here, with tons of research and collaboration going into getting these cars here. I can’t get over how much innovation and creativity there is in one space.”

Speaking of that space, Dream Cars marks the first time these one-of-a-kind models have been in the same exhibition together, and the High is the only place you can see them. The exhibition will deconstruct after its summer showcase.

Visionary ideas inspire onlookers, including some never-before-seen renderings, conceptual drawings and scale models of four-wheeled fantasies that pushed the visionaries of earlier generations to design their own symbols of the future. Personally, that meant imagining myself cruising down the highway in one of the cars with the glass-top, panoramic view – whether in the 1948 Tasio, a powder-blue beauty with red leather interior, or the 1956 Buick Centurion, cherry red with a wraparound windshield and no rearview mirrors. To the brains behind these unique ideas, the sky literally was the limit.

That’s the point that curators hope to get across. Gross said, “I hope this exhibition will help people will see automobiles as art.”

Shlein agreed, adding, “I hope that people will be inspired to continue to question the ‘what ifs’ to see what’s possible.”

High Museum of Art
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