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The Shape of Speed


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The Shape of Speed

Streamlined Automobiles and Motorcycles, 1930–1942

PORTLAND ART MUSEUM

 BMW, R7 Concept Motorcycle, 1934. Photo: Peter Harholdt. BMW’s sleek, streamlined, one-of-a-kind R7 Concept Motorcycle appeared at major shows in Germany in 1934, then was crated up and lost until it was discovered in 2005, and restored by BMW craftsmen. Highly advanced for its day, with a pressed steel frame and full bodywork, the R7 is a remarkable survivor—and a bike that was well before its time.

BMW, R7 Concept Motorcycle, 1934. Photo: Peter Harholdt.
BMW’s sleek, streamlined, one-of-a-kind R7 Concept Motorcycle appeared at major shows in Germany in 1934, then was crated up and lost until it was discovered in 2005, and restored by BMW craftsmen. Highly advanced for its day, with a pressed steel frame and full bodywork, the R7 is a remarkable survivor—and a bike that was well before its time.

Jun 16 – Sep 16, 2018

The Shape of Speed

The Portland Art Museum is pleased to announce The Shape of Speed: Streamlined Automobiles and Motorcycles, 1930–1942, a special exhibition debuting at the Museum in Summer 2018. Featuring 19 rare streamlined automobiles and motorcycles, The Shape of Speed opens June 16 and will be on view through September 16, 2018.

The concept of streamlining has fascinated people for generations. Beginning in the 1930s and extending until the outbreak of the World War II, automotive designers embraced the challenge of styling and building truly streamlined cars that were fast and fuel-efficient. They were encouraged by the confluence of aircraft design with the sleek shapes of fast railroad locomotives; new advanced highways such as the Autobahns; and events like the 1939 New York City World’s Fair, which showcased futuristic design.

The latest exhibition in the Portland Art Museum’s design series, The Shape of Speed is guest curated by Ken Gross, former director of the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. Gross previously curated the Museum’s 2011 exhibition The Allure of the Automobile, which enthralled visitors with its lavish presentation of automobiles as kinetic art—a form of rolling sculpture. With this new exhibition, the Museum opens the door to another fascinating exploration of automotive design.

The Shape of Speed celebrates great design that moves us,” said Brian Ferriso, The Marilyn H. and Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr. Director and Chief Curator of the Portland Art Museum. “During the Great Depression, the forward-leaning, beautiful designs of streamlined vehicles were aspirational, inspiring a sense of hope for the future. We look forward to bringing that excitement to Portland again.”

The Shape of Speed: Streamlined Automobiles and Motorcycles, 1930–1942 is accompanied by a range of related programs and events, as well as a catalogue. For more information and updates, please visit portlandartmuseum.org.

Organized by the Portland Art Museum. Guest curated by Ken Gross.

Events:

Jun 16 @ 5:30 PM – 8:45 PM — Talking About Cars: Jay Leno & Ken Gross

Jun 17 @ 2 PM – 3 PM — Opening Lecture: The Shape of Speed

Jun 23 @ 3 PM – 4 PM — Public Tour: The Shape of Speed

Jun 24 @ 11 AM – 3 PM — Streamlined Sundays: Motorcycles in the Park

Jul 3 @ 1 PM – 2 PM — Public Tour: The Shape of Speed

Jul 5 @ 10 AM – 12:30 PM — Baby Morning: The Shape of Speed

Jul 7 @ 3 PM – 4 PM — Public Tour: The Shape of Speed

Jul 8 @ 1 PM – 5 PM — Streamlined Sundays: Cars in the Park

Jul 15 @ 3 PM – 4 PM — Public Tour: The Shape of Speed

Jul 17 @ 9:15 AM – 11:30 AM — Art & Conversation: The Shape of Speed

Jul 18 @ 6 PM – 7 PM — Panel Discussion: The Shape of Speed

Jul 24 @ 1 PM – 2 PM — Public Tour: The Shape of Speed

Jul 29 @ 3 PM – 4 PM — Public Tour: The Shape of Speed

Aug 5 @ 10 AM – 5 PM — Streamlined Sundays: Miller Family Free Day – Oregon Travel Trailers & Trucks

Aug 9 @ 1 PM – 2 PM — Public Tour: The Shape of Speed

Aug 11 @ 3 PM – 4 PM — Public Tour: The Shape of Speed

Aug 25 @ 3 PM – 4 PM — Public Tour: The Shape of Speed

Sep 4 @ 1 PM – 2 PM — Public Tour: The Shape of Speed

Sep 9 @ 3 PM – 4 PM — Public Tour: The Shape of Speed

Sep 12 @ 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM — Midday Art Break: The Shape of Speed

Sep 13 @ 1 PM – 2 PM — Public Tour: The Shape of Speed

Sep 16 @ 3 PM – 4 PM — Public Tour: The Shape of Speed

Earlier Event: June 25
APEX: Hannah Piper Burns
Later Event: June 25
Picturing Oregon