Let’s Hit the Road Again

Like the words from Willy Nelson’s popular song, the exhibition commemorates the American love affair with the open road…

On the road again
Just can’t wait to get on the road again
The life I love is making music with my friends
And I can’t wait to get on the road again

On the road again
Goin’ places that I’ve never been
Seein’ things that I may never see again
And I can’t wait to get on the road again


Reflections of Audrey, by Marylou Chibirka, Dalton, Pennsylvania

“While holding the old Chevy hubcap, I felt I was holding a piece of history. I painted a reflected moment of it’s environment. I used an old black and white photo of my Aunt Audrey standing in front of her home and used images of a diner and Chevy to paint the background.”


The Car Experience

America’s love affair with the automobile and driving on the “Open Road”

Cars quickly became essential appendanages of the American suburban life-style

Groovy Ride (On the Road), by Vera Tataro, Prague, Czech Republic

I created a portrait of a woman, who is driving a fast car, her hair flapping behind her, the night rushing about, and all this is reflected in the old metal hub cap of the car the woman is driving.”



On the Road Again
by Nolan Winkler
Hillsboro, New Mexico

“Having grown up in Los Angeles, California in the 1950s, the automobile was an icon (along with memorable gas wars!)  I recall my brother and I counting Fords vs. Chevys while on trips. And the Mercedes Benz… my first ‘real’ romance drove a Gull Wing. Perfect!”   Nolan Winkler


Take most people, they’re crazy about cars. They worry if they get a little scratch on them, and they’re always talking about how many miles they get to a gallon, and if they get a brand-new car already they start thinking about trading it in for one that’s even newer. I don’t even like old cars. I mean they don’t even interest me. I’d rather have a goddam horse. A horse is at least human, for God’s sake.”

~from J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye


Popular Culture and Music

Stevie Won-derful! Noelle Maki Rollins, Osceola, Wisconsin

As the automobile became more and more an extension of the individual, it was natural that this was reflected in popular culture.

America’s love affair with the automobile was most evident in the music of the era.

“I paint musically themed art and using the hubcap for my canvas makes me think of Detroit; the automobile hub of the US.

The other thing Detroit in known for? Good old get you out of your seat Motown. How could I resist. I love the symbolism of painting an artist that is no longer in the top spaces on the charts but still has importance to us.  Just as something as simple as an old hubcap was once new and shiny but now sits in the shadows. My goal is to let the viewer simultaneously see the beauty in both.”  Noelle Maki Rollins, Osceola, Wisconsin


Oh, Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz.”Janis Joplin


Chevy to the Levee, by Guinotte Wise, LaCygne, Kansas


“So bye-bye, Miss American Pie Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry And them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye   Singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die, This’ll be the day that I die” “Chevy to the levee” is from “American Pie,” which topped America’s music charts in 1972.

Singer and songwriter Don McLean wrote it to mourn the death of three musicians in a 1959 airplane crash.   Those who perished the “day the music died” included Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and Jiles Perry Richardson Jr., “the Big Bopper.” The song’s familiar chorus is now part of American pop culture.


Driving in Style

This section explores the lore and popular culture which surrounds some of the iconic cars, and America’s well known highways and byways.

Detroit was the center of the automobile industry of the day . . . .

The “Big Three” auto firms—General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler—were all based in Detroit. The auto industry used huge amounts of steel, glass, copper, and (later) plastic, fueling the rise of a host of auto-related industries in and around the city.

At its peak, Detroit employed hundreds of thousands of workers on the assembly lines, stamping and tool-and-die plants, foundries and small factories that made auto parts.  The reach of the auto industry extended throughout Michigan and small towns in the upper Midwest.

By the middle of the 20th century, one in every six working Americans was employed directly or indirectly by the automobile industry, and Detroit was its epicenter.


      “The car has become an article of dress without which we feel uncertain, unclad and incomplete.

Marchall McLuhan, Understanding Media, 1964



By 1950 Detroit had caught up with demand following the change from war  production and stopped offering “drab, clunky, warmed-over, prewar designs.”    Automakers decided to give Americans what they assumed they really wanted  –   “big, powerful, flashy new cars–not next year–NOW!”

  Over the next two decades Detroit flooded automobile showrooms with cars that had “flair and individuality,”  During this time cars were unique and sought after for it.   Designers knew that although the “responsible” adult customer when asked would say that “economy, durability and reliability” dictated their auto purchases, in reality what mattered was “adult toys, with pizzazz and sex appeal.”

The heads of the design teams — Harley Earl and Bill Mitchell at GM, and Virgil Exner at Chrysler — were in close competition every year, to see who could wow the public with the next, biggest, sharpest tail fins.


“If you go by a school and the kids don’t whistle, back to the drawing board.”   Harvey Earl 



The hubcap is a respnse to the automobile age of the 50s with exaggerated bumpers, fins, and grilles, the more chrome the better.  Outlandish and detailed, vintage mid-century cars offered all the horsepower touting strength, weight, shiny and glamour.”  Erick C. Johnson


Nice Grille, What’s Under the Hood, by Erick Jonson, Fort Collins, Colorado




Progressive Harmony by Diane Whitely ontgomery, Texas


Found Objects Transformed

What once began as a tool for industrialized society, then became an object of trans, and for its third life, it has become a work of art


Where Will You Go Today? by Carol Surface, Beverly Hills, California


“If we don’t keep moving, following our personal compass as we continually rebuild our environment and ourselves, we will wither and die.  What better way to apply the theme than to resurrect something that was beaten down, tossed out as if it were used up, and give it the respect and new life it is entitled to?” Carol Surface





Details about the Exhibition

A touring exhibition of 149 artworks selected from the LandfillArt Collection

Available:  2020 – 2022 for 8-week periods or longer

Security:  34 hour security.  During open hours, the exhibition must be under surveillance

Temperature:  64 – 72 degrees F with 2 degree variation

Humidity:  50% with 10% variation

Borrowing instituion responsible for one way transport costs and wall to wall inurance coverate from prior institution and while on display at host site


Nations Rising by Connie W. Shaw, Franklin, Tennessee






For further information, please contact Shirley Reiff Howarth at exhibitions@humanities-exchange.org