Museum director Felix Kramer explains why vintage cars are also art.
So far, two major car exhibitions have been held at museums around the world in New York in 1954 and in Boston in 2005. German curator Felix Krämer has declared vintage cars art. The new head of Kunstpalast Dusseldorf is the artist’s bar “Omejup”, where Heinrich Heine and Joseph Beuys once stopped by, sitting with the lemonade of Sambucus sieboldii.
Why don’t you have a vintage car?
I didn’t drive a car, I didn’t have a car. You can drive faster on the road with just one bike at a time. Also, there are no parking issues.
You have a driver’s license, right?
Yes And I love cars. As a kid, I wanted to be a car designer. My mother still has graffiti since then. I spent my pocket money on the car quartet and the special edition of “Auto Motorsport”.
Did you have a favorite car?
I always wanted Morris Miner, a counter model of the German beetle.
Boys and cars, old charm. But what is Kurt doing in the museum?
I came up with the idea when a friend of my art collector showed me something on his phone. We were scrolling through the photos and at first, I thought he was showing Henry Moore’s sculpture. It was a car. That’s when it’s clicked on me. A car is a movable sculpture that vibrates, makes noise, and holds the road.
Don’t notice just the car is standing.
Viewers will investigate in detail. It’s all there: childish plans, wide-eyed smiling cars, swollen shapes, games of sexuality between male and female shapes, the golden section. The designers knew exactly what they were doing. Proportions and aesthetic principles play the same role as art.
And like art, the prices of classic cars are going crazy. Art Baselworld has now established the automotive division of Grand Basel.
We are at a crossroads and the cars are polarized. Here is the diesel issue, where we share the economy and Car towing service. Our perception changes. This is similar to a clock. In the age of smartphones, no one needs a smartphone anymore. But like a watch, the car is still a status symbol, about history and passion.
Ironically, when a car is battery-powered and loses sensuality to drive itself, should the soulful tin adoration grow?
When? People who can afford it are now realizing their childhood and youth dreams and are buying one of their favorite cars they grew up in. I was born in 1971, my childhood car already has an H license plate.
Putting a classic car in the garage is pretty elitist. How does it fit into a more democratic understanding of art?
I don’t think so. In the case of a car, even an old car does not require a high school diploma or a fat wallet. It is of interest to Master Baker as well as students, teachers, or artists. And if you can’t afford a luxury vintage car, you can put it back on your own.
Nevertheless, fashion designer Ralph Lauren and talk show host Jay Leno are mainly famous for their collections, mainly powerful men.
Many artists, from Andy Warhol to Rem Koolhaas to Andreas Gursky, are also car enthusiasts. For most of them, the urge to art was delayed. On the other hand, there was a love for cars from the beginning. I just spoke to the head of a big company that is ticking every minute. He became really emotional when he explained how he felt about the roads and cars of his classic car. These are the minutes he has only for himself, and he completed himself.
Self-discovery on wheels?
Very private and often personal moments related to the car. You can’t find it in other art genres.
Which model evokes your emotions?
In the ’80s there was the Lancia Y10. My partner at the time drove it. Equipped with chic and Alcantara. At that time, small cars were fired as scrap. But I like Lancia’s gorgeous anarchy and I’m still excited to see another.