DIA to Debut American Road Trip-themed Photography Exhibit in June


The Detroit Institute of Arts will host a photography exhibition beginning in June that features more than 70 photographs from 19 individuals that highlight and celebrate American road trips.

The Open Road: Photography and the American Road Trip, will display photographs from Robert Frank’s 1955 book The Americans to more contemporary works by artists such as Justine Kurland, who will give a talk at the DIA on June 16. Other photographers include Ed Ruscha, Garry Winogrand, Inga Morath, Joel Sternfeld, and Alec Soth. A book, also called The Open Road: Photography and the American Road Trip, will accompany the exhibition.

“Road trips are a tradition in America and can clearly reveal what is unique about this country’s culture,” says Salvador Salort-Pons, director of the DIA. “Photographers traveling through the United States have defined, critiqued, and celebrated America, and many of the images in this exhibition are iconic in the history of photography.”

Salort-Pons says the photographs represent the possibilities the open road offers and explores why Americans are lured by new adventures. He says after World War II, the American road trip began appearing in literature, music, movies, and photography. Cars, buses, motels, campsites, diners, signs, gas stations, and everyday people fascinated photographers. Among the works featured is Ruscha’s Twentysix Gasoline Stations, taken during his trip between Los Angeles and Oklahoma in 1963.

The exhibit, which runs from June 17 to Sept. 11, is free with museum admission. ​

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