21Country: ‘LUSTER’ art exhibit showcases realism, hyperrealism paintings of classic cars and motorcycles

On display for the next few months at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum
Updated: Jun. 21, 2022 at 5:30 PM EDT
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AUBURN, Ind. (WPTA21) - A nationwide art exhibit is spending the next several months on display at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum. And it’s already drawn quite an audience after opening in June — including an art collector, a featured artist, and a retired Indy 500 race car driver. LUSTER: Realism and Hyperrealism in Contemporary Automobile and Motorcycle Painting can be found primarily on the second and third floors of the historic Auburn building.

“There are over 50 different works of art on canvas, that you’re going to see throughout the museum,” Executive Director Brandon Anderson explained. Fifteen unique artists contributed their works for the traveling gallery. Anderson’s favorite piece is by late painter Kris Preslan, of Lake Oswego, Oregon. She created “Cars I’ll Never Own, #15… Auburn” inside the museum. It’s a Cord 812 Supercharged with the iconic museum windows, and city’s name reflecting above one of the tires. “Art is multi-faceted — so are the automobiles,” he said. “We’re not just a garage of cars, we’re something completely different. You’re stepping into the time period of the Auburn Automobile Company in the roaring 1920s, in one of the grandest Art Deco buildings in the midwest.”

Earlier this month, Las Vegas artist A.D. Cook visited Auburn, to see three of his paintings on display. “I’m that kid that was drawing and painting in the first grade,” he told us. “Cars are one of the most creative and inspired things that we can relate to — we all have a car, we all love cars. They’re approachable.” Cook started hiding elements in his paintings you just might notice, if you look long and hard enough. In “Dream 103″, there are 103 hidden skulls made of soap bubbles, in “Indian Summer”, the chrome reflects the park where Cook photographed it in 2000, and in “America”, his initials are embossed in the carburetor. “Cars you know… they just don’t happen by accident,” he added. “There’s a lot of talent and energy that goes into glorifying them, and celebrating them.”

Future Star Racing president Mark McAlister collects art. He actually owns “Indian Summer” which has been on loan for several years as part of LUSTER. “It just feels like you can just reach right out here, and touch it — ride it,” he said of the painting, bought during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in 2006. “We’re looking forward to getting it in the house, so we can enjoy it… we just thought it’s almost unfair to hoard it all to yourself, so we were happy to share.”

McAlister’s colleague is no stranger to cars. Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser, Jr. made his first visit to Auburn to see Cook’s work, and admire dozens of other pieces. “It just blows me away that somebody can start with just a canvas and then make it into these beautiful artworks,” Unser told ABC21, “and A.D. is brilliant at doing that!”

LUSTER was curated by David J. Wagner. Here is the full list of exhibiting artists: A.D. Cook (Las Vegas, NV), Randy Ford (Eastampton, NJ), Allan Gorman (West Orange, NJ), Marc G. Jones (Loveland, CO), Cheryl Kelley (Northern California), Richard Lewis (Los Angeles, CA), Lory Lockwood (New Orleans, LA), Robert Petillo (Hardyston, NJ), Kris Preslan (Lake Oswego, OR), Joseph Santos (Buena Park, CA), Ken Scaglia (Weston, CT), John E. Schaeffer (La Grange, TX), Guenevere “Moto Painter” Schwien (Portland, OR), and Harold Zabady (Camp Hill, PA).

LUSTER Realism and Hyperrealism in Contemporary Automobile and Motorcycle Painting will be on display at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum until January 15, 2023. It’s open seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can find more information on what they have to offer here.

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