Luster Exhibit at Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum

Luster Exhibit at Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum 2022

Realism and Hyperrealism in Contemporary Automobile and Motorcycle Paintings

LUSTER: Realism and Hyperrealism in Contemporary Automobile and Motorcycle Painting is a traveling museum exhibition comprised of over 55 paintings by nearly 15 of today’s realists and hyperrealists who specialize in automobiles and motorcycles as their primary subjects of choice. LUSTER will be exhibiting at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum from June 1, 2022, through January 15, 2023. The Community Foundation of DeKalb County has generously supported this exhibit.

Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, cars and motorcycles have not only been ubiquitous on the nation’s streets and highways but also in film, top forty hits, and paintings. However, with the emergence of photo-realism in the 1960s, motor vehicles assumed a special place of distinction as subject matter in the iconography of American art.

Auburn Cord Duesenberg MuseumExhibiting artists include (in alphabetical order): A.D. Cook (Las Vegas, NV), Randy Ford (Eastampton, NJ), Allan Gorman (West Orange, NJ), Marc G. Jones (Loveland, CO), Cheryl Kelley (Northern California), Richard Lewis (Los Angeles, CA), Lory Lockwood (New Orleans, LA), Robert Petillo (Hardyston, NJ), Kris Preslan (Lake Oswego, OR), Joseph Santos (Buena Park, CA), Ken Scaglia (Weston, CT), John E. Schaeffer (La Grange, TX), Guenevere “Moto Painter” Schwien (Portland, OR), and Harold Zabady (Camp Hill, PA). Their work exemplifies the very best of automotive painting being done today. It builds on that of the first wave of photo-realists in the ’60s and ‘70s, which included the likes of  Harold Cleworth, Don Eddy, Richard Estes, and Ralph Goings.

LUSTER encompasses a broad range of cars and motorcycles, from vintage vehicles from the 1940s and before to more recent classics. During the post-World War II boom years, cheap gas and the advent of the Interstate Highway System in 1956 propelled automotive design and sales. In the 1950s, the industry reached new heights by offering consumers increased horsepower for thrust and speed and more artfully integrated design which was dramatized in the 1960s with features such as tail fins. LUSTER features paintings of passenger automobiles from those boom years and since, plus a range of motorcycles and racing vehicles.

Like the shiny automobiles and motorcycles portrayed by the exhibit’s artists, its paintings can be characterized by the luster that permeates their imagery. Chrome ornamentation and trim together with enameled bodywork, glass, and interior fabrication to meet the needs of purpose-built vehicles of all sorts: these are the surfaces which recent realists and hyperrealists have exploited to generate true, virtuosic masterpieces.

Serving as Curator for LUSTER Realism and Hyperrealism in Contemporary Automobile and Motorcycle Painting is David J. Wagner, who earned his Ph.D. in American Studies and served as a museum director for 20 years.

For tour venue locations and dates, and a complete catalog of exhibition contents, visit

For further information, contact:


(414) 221-6878
[email protected]

Member: American Alliance of Museums; International Council of Museums

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