Speed: The Art of the Performance Automobile
Utah Museum of Fine Arts
June 2 – September 16, 2012
Speed: The Art of the Performance Automobile is the newest exhibition at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, running June 2 – September 16, 2012. Showcasing the world’s finest and fastest cars, the exhibition will feature a century of legends on wheels that exemplify premier aerodynamics, engineering, art and design of their era.
My family and I have long supported the University of Utah and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. We are committed to UMFA’s mission of helping visitors of all ages and backgrounds to engage with great art and culture. In addition to my interest in the arts, I am also an avid car collector and enthusiast. The Price Museum of Speed, a nonprofit organization located in Salt Lake City, comprises of 30 automobiles from the past century. Ten of its fine cars will be on view at the UMFA exhibition, along with 9 other remarkable cars from across the country.
I am very excited about this exhibition – and the opportunity it presents to our community to see extremely rare and special cars. We are thrilled to lend cars from our museum collection to the Speed exhibition, and the John and Marcia Price Family Foundation is pleased to serve as title sponsor.
Speed coming to fruition
About five years ago, I began conversations with the UMFA about creating a car exhibition for the community. The result of those conversations, as well as a great deal of planning, creativity, and organization, is Speed: The Art of the Performance Automobile.
In visiting other museums and car events around the country, I have experienced first-hand the success of automobile exhibitions presented in the context of art museums. A number of exhibitions have happened in recent years, but none have been like Speed, with a focus on racing cars and a connection to the rich history of our great state’s famed Bonneville Salt Flats.
Mormon Meteor III
One of the highlights of Speed is the 1938 “Mormon Meteor III,” a famous Bonneville race car that I am pleased to have in our collection. The “Mormon Meteor III” was designed and driven by David Abbott “Ab” Jenkins, a Utah native and former Salt Lake City mayor, who is widely recognized as the father of Bonneville Salt Flats racing. Driven by Ab, the “Mormon Meteor III” set more long-distance endurance speed records than any other car in history, twelve of which still stand today. It is coupled in the Show with the 1935 Duesenberg Special, also known as the “Mormon Meteor I”, in which Ab Jenkins’ set a number of long-distance endurance speed records in 1935, 1936, and 1937. This is the first time in many years for the reunion of these two marquee Bonneville Salt Flats endurance race cars.
We purchased the Mormon Meteor III in 2007, after Ab’s son, Marvin Jenkins had re-acquired it after years of being on view in the Utah State Capitol Building. During the 1990’s Marv restored the Meteor, bringing it back to life. We aided in the restoration of the engine, which was completed shortly before Marv passed away in 2008. He was alive long enough to hear the roar of the engine once again, with its full racing power.
I would encourage you all to learn more about the Mormon Meteor III by viewing Boys of Bonneville: Racing on a Ribbon of Salt, a documentary film that tells the story of Ab Jenkins and his quest to break every existing land speed record. Boys of Bonneville is available in the Speed store downstairs, some excerpts of the film are on view in the exhibition’s interactive gallery, and a free screening of Boys of Bonneville will take place in the UMFA’s Katherine W. and Ezekiel R. Dumke, Jr. Auditorium on July 18 as part of the Speed film series, co-presented by the Utah Film Center.
Finally, I am pleased to mention that the Price Museum of Speed commissioned a beautiful, full-color exhibition catalog published by Stance & Speed, written by the exhibition guest curator Ken Gross with photographs by Peter Harholdt and Michael Furman to accompany the Speed exhibition.
Press Coverage of the Exhibition
From the race track to the museum, the fast and furious arrive
By Carol Mikita | KSL
A new art exhibit can take you from zero to 60 in less than four seconds.
An exhibit at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts will soon display race cars such as a 1975 Speed-o-Motive Special Streamliner, a 1952 “Beast 111″ or a 1935 Mormon Meteor 1. The display houses 19 vintage automobiles — built for speed and worth $100 million.
“Some are very, very, very rare,” said Gretchen Dietrich, executive director of the museum. “Some have been owned by amazingly famous and important people. Some have been driven by the more important race car drivers of their day.”
UMFA up to ‘Speed’ with exhibit of classic cars
By Sean P. Means | The Salt Lake Tribune
Chrome and steel join pastels and bronze in the Utah Museum of Fine Arts this weekend, with the opening of an exhibit featuring 19 classic racing and high-performance automobiles.
“We don’t have to make excuses for cars in an art museum,” said Ken Gross, guest curator of “Speed: The Art of the Performance Automobile,” which opens Saturday at the museum of on the University of Utah campus.
Gross, speaking to the press Thursday at a preview of the show, called the cars “functional art” and noted that the Museum of Modern Art first displayed automobiles in 1951, in an exhibit that called them “hollow rolling sculpture.”