Lawrence Technological University Hosts Automotive Design Exhibit

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Lawrence Technological University in Southfield is hosting an exhibit that will offer an inside look at the design studios of Detroit automakers from the 1940s to the 1970s.

“We want to shine a bright light into the world of Detroit’s automotive design studios and recognize the artists of this golden age of car design,” says Robert Edwards, exhibit curator and organizer. Edwards, along with Greg Salustro, are producing a feature-length documentary film, American Dreaming, about the art behind the designers in the automotive industry.

American Dreaming: Detroit’s Golden Age of Automotive Design includes artwork created by university-trained artists. Edwards says that in an effort to gain market share following World War II, the automakers hired university-trained artists to produce visually appealing art.

He says styling and design were highly-valued by automakers, and artists had a major role in changing the industry. The sketches are rare because car company policies mandated preliminary artwork be destroyed when the final designs were selected for production.

On Wednesday, Lawrence Technological University is hosting a panel of retired automotive designers and art historians to discuss automotive industry art and its place in American art history.

The exhibit runs through May 2. Admission to the exhibit is free. 

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