The Luster VIP Opening Gala Momentum Unveiling

LUSTER Exhibit at the National Corvette Museum 2024


Ready. Set. Go!

National Corvette Museum official logoThursday, March 14 // 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM — The LUSTER Exhibit was officially revealed to museum members, Corvette owners, collectors, and enthusiasts at the National Corvette Museum. LUSTER lived up to its namesake with an evening of meet-and-greet of passionate guests surrounded by a collection of new C-8 Corvettes awaiting pick-up by their owners who make the trip so they can road-trip home. The red carpet evening, with DJ music and delicious eats from the Stingray Grill, was followed by announcements in the iconic Skydome before gathering in the museum’s new gallery space for the exhibition reveal.

“Corvette enthusiasts know that America’s Sports Car is a work of art. From the flowing curves of the C3 to the aggressive lines of the C8, Corvettes have often set the standard for beauty and visual excitement for more than 70 years. What makes LUSTER particularly special is the fine detail used to capture the subjects of each painting. Chrome shines, paint sparkles and polished fenders reflect their surroundings, and many of the portraits in LUSTER could be mistaken for photographs.”

Below is Robert Maxhimer‘s transcript from his talk before the LUSTER unveiling.

“Good evening. I’m Robert Maxhimer, the Director of Collections and Exhibitions at the National Corvette Museum, and I’d like to officially welcome you to Bowling Green’s newest fine art gallery.

As we gather in our Skydome surrounded by this incredible collection of Corvettes, it’s easy to be reminded how America’s Sports Car truly is a work of art.

From the flowing curves of the C3 to the aggressive lines of the C8, Corvettes have often set the standard for automotive elegance and visual excitement for more than 70 years.

It was that history of design that inspired us to bring LUSTER to the National Corvette Museum. What makes LUSTER a unique art exhibition is the use of hyperrealism to portray its subjects. Being a relatively new art movement dating back to 1973, hyperrealism’s approach to art is to accurately capture the subject while embracing the imperfections. Hyperrealism requires discipline, effort and skill, all of which can be seen in abundance through these pieces.

The chrome shines, paint sparkles and polished fenders reflect their surroundings, and, due to the level of skill these artists possess, the line between the paintbrush and reality can easily be blurred.
These paintings capture the beauty of the cars and motorcycles represented, reminding us that art can take many forms.

While I’m excited to pull that stanchion back and have you take-in the artistry of these paintings first hand, I wanted to point out the collection of cars curated to accompany them. Of American Picker’s fame, we have Mike Wolf’s 1941 Indian Scout, and Board Chair-Elect Mike LaRocca’s exquisite 1958 Corvette.

This is an exhibit where the cars and motorcycles are the stars, both on canvas and in real life. On the wall and on wheels. In fact, in some cases, it may be hard to tell the difference.

A successful fine art gallery is a sensual experience, all of your senses should be engaged, and when you walk through the threshold into our completely reimaged Limited Engagement Gallery, prepare to be immersed in a world of hyperrealism.

Highlights of the new space include refinished flooring, movable gallery walls, and directional LED lighting that creates a visual journey when viewing the art and artifacts. The outcome is an elevated space that reflects both the LUSTER exhibit and the direction the National Corvette Museum is taking as we evolve and enhance the guest experience.

As with every exhibit, it takes a team to make this happen, and LUSTER would not be possible without the help of so many. First, I’d like to thank Mike Wolf for his loan of the 1941 Indian Scout, Mike LaRocca for the loan of his 1958 Corvette, our colleagues at the Auburn Cord-Duesenberg Museum for the loan of the Cord 812, and General Motors for the loan of the 1957 Bel Air from the General Motors Heritage Collection.

I also want to recognize those whose support makes exhibits like this possible. To our board of directors, members, and volunteers, we thank you. To our donors including Spire Society, Duntov Society, and our Winner’s Circle Society, we absolutely could not do this work without you. Thank you for your continued and generous support.

To our local partners and our state and community leaders, we appreciate everything you do to make our museum successful. Special thanks DIGNITARIES ATTENDING.

I also want to recognize the team that put in countless hours reimaging our Limited Engagement Gallery. Since 2009, this gallery has featured rotating exhibits that connect with automotive enthusiasts, but never has it looked so incredible. Immense gratitude goes to Kaitlin Valentine who – as an intern – developed the first designs that illustrated what this space could be. And thanks to my Collections team colleagues (Ashlee James, Sharon Kinser and our curator Bryan Gable), along with our Facilities Team, who did much of the work, with special recognition to Jacob Foster for managing the renovation, and building the beautiful interactive table by hand.

Now, to offer a few words on the LUSTER exhibit, please welcome A.D. Cook, whose work is featured in the Exhibit, along with a special piece we will unveil for the first time once we get into the gallery.”

— Robert Maxhimer

After Robert’s gracious delivery of the words and introduction, it was my turn to take the stage and introduce the show and my fellow LUSTER artists, Richard Lewis from Los Angeles, California; Lory Lockwood from New Orleans; Ken Scaglia from Winston, Connecticut; along with Bruce Preslan from Lake Oswego, Oregon, to represent his late wife, watercolor artist Kris Preslan who passed away two years ago.

On behalf of LUSTER’s exhibit producer, David Wagner, it was my pleasure to to thank the National Corvette Museum for bringing LUSTER to the great state of Kentucky, and in particular to this museum which is THE mecca for America’s quintessential sports car.

LUSTER is a celebration of automotive design and style, and virtuosic artist achievement that features a dazzling selection of paintings from the birth of the automobile and motorcycle to the present.

I know I speak for all exhibiting artists, and for Dave Wagner, when I say, it is an honor of a lifetime, to have our exhibition, LUSTER, at The National Corvette Museum.

Next, guests gathered in the museum’s stunning new art gallery, which is spectacular with its freshly painted red and dark grey walls and lustrous shiny floor, which reflect the art and cars like priceless jewels.

Throughout the gallery, the paintings are beautifully spaced, with plenty of breathing room to enjoy the art. The gallery is large, so even with three cars and one beautifully-patinaed Indian motorcycle, there is plenty of room to step back and take it all in, or get still close to the art to explore the details in each piece.

Once everyone was comfortable in the gallery space, I proceeded to unveil MOMENTUM, my new Corvette diptych, and share its backstory.

Since pictures say more than even my choicest words, please enjoy a few of my favorite pics from the evening below.

A.D. Cook unveiling MOMENTUM painting at National Corvette Museum 2024

LUSTER is a celebration of automotive design, style, and virtuosic artist achievement that features a dazzling selection of paintings from the birth of the automobile and motorcycle to the present.

Experience the LUSTER Exhibit up close at the NATIONAL CORVETTE MUSEUM // March 15 through December 31, 2024. 350 Corvette Drive, Bowling Green, KY 42101 [ click for directions and hours ]


— This post includes pics by A.D. Cook, the National Corvette Museum, and friends. All copyright © of their respective owners. Used by permission.

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