RALEIGH — On October 12, 2013, the North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA) opens its firstever design exhibition, bringing together the largest and most diverse group of Porsche automobiles ever on display in a U.S. art museum. Porsche by Design: Seducing Speed features more than 20 automobiles that together trace the evolution of the singular Porsche design aesthetic from its inception in the 1930s through the present day. Porsche by Design is organized by guest curator Ken Gross, a renowned automotive journalist and the former director of the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. The NCMA’s Barbara Wiedemann is managing curator.
Beginning with the crisp minimalism of the 1938 Type 64 Berlin-Rom Racer—the oldest model featured in the exhibition—the cars on display show the evolution of the signature design principles that have long linked Porsche with beauty, artistry, technology, and innovation. Other examples include the aerodynamic design that was the hallmark of the Formula One race cars of the 1960s, and the technical innovation and advancements that were introduced with contemporary models such as the 911 Carrera.
“Porsche by Design brings together one of the most significant collections of Porsche automobiles ever assembled,” said Ken Gross. “More than ‘just a show about cars,’ the exhibition emphasizes the innate beauty of aerodynamic design, inseparably linked with engineering genius. It further illustrates the Porsche family’s ability to stay true, over many decades, to a powerful design history while remaining on the forefront of technological advances, continually driving automobile design forward. These cars are superlative examples of uncompromised, artfully restrained design, lending visual form and grace to the notion of speed.”
Highlights of Porsche by Design include:
–The 1938/39 Type 64 Berlin-Rom racer designed by Porsche founder Dr. Ferdinand Porsche; it is the precursor to all Porsche automobiles manufactured after 1948.
–A handcrafted 1949 Gmünd coupe designed by Dr. Porsche’s son “Ferry” Porsche, one of about 50 aluminum-bodied sports cars from the first Porsche “factory,” a converted sawmill in Gmünd, Austria.
–Steve McQueen’s iconic Porsche Speedster, a Type 356A from 1958, synonymous with the late Golden Age in Hollywood, on loan to the Museum from his son Chad McQueen.
–A rare Type 804 Formula One race car, one of only four of this model ever built, and the car that Dan Gurney raced to victory at the Austrian Grand Prix.
–Janis Joplin’s psychedelic Porsche Type 356C, on loan to the NCMA from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.
–A Porsche GT3R hybrid race car prototype from 2010.
“At the NCMA we are continually looking for ways to engage our audience with exhibitions and installations that help interpret the world around us through the lens of art and design,” said Lawrence J. Wheeler, director of the North Carolina Museum of Art. “Porsche by Design traces the evolution of these magnificent automobiles, but by virtue of putting them in a museum setting, we are challenged to see them in a different way: as objects of beauty that transcend their use for transportation.”
To provide a more in-depth experience, the Museum will release a series of short-format videos featuring interviews with Porsche collectors, historians, and enthusiasts, including Jay Leno, Derek Bell, Dan Neil, Harm Lagaaij, Ken Gross, and Robert Cumberford. The videos include archival images of the Porsche family, a close look at signature Porsche design details, and footage of historic car races. New videos will be released periodically beginning in April and continuing throughout the summer.
The Museum is also partnering with the College of Design at North Carolina State University (NCSU) to offer two for-credit courses created around Porsche by Design. “Special Topics in Industrial Design: Cultivating Creativity” and “Special Topics in Industrial Design: Innovation by Design” will be taught at the Museum by NCSU faculty, and students across the state may register for the courses. The Museum is working with NCSU and other colleges in the state on additional programs throughout the run of the exhibition.
The Museum is also producing a full-color exhibition catalogue with photographs by Michael Furman and Peter Harholdt. The catalogue features essays by Ken Gross, Robert Cumberford, Jeff Zwart, Karl Ludvigsen, Randy Leffingwell, Miles C. Collier, Cam Ingram, Cameron Healy, Denise McCluggage, Derek Bell, Pete Lyons, Dan Neil and Michael Mauer.
Porsche by Design opens October 12, 2013, and runs through January 20, 2014. For more information and updates on Porsche by Design: Seducing Speed, visit www.ncartmuseum.org/porsche.
The N.C. Museum of Art is a unit of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources. For more information on North Carolina’s arts, history and culture visit Cultural Resources online.