Norman Foster Curates Motion. Autos, Art, Architecture for Guggenheim Bilbao

Harley Earl General Motors, Firebirds Models I, II and III, 1954-1958 General Motors © General Motors / Photo by Rodney Morr


April 7, 2022

  • Motion. Autos, Art, Architecture is on view April 8 through September 18, 2022 at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.
  • British architect Norman Foster is behind the concept and design along with curators Lekha Hileman Waitoller and Manuel Cirauqui of Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.
  • The exhibit links the art of the automobile with painting, sculpture, architecture, and photography.
  • Nearly 40 rare vehicles are on display, many on view publicly for the first time, including several from Frank Lloyd Wright’s collection.
  • A 273-page catalogue is available from Ivorypress.

Lord Norman Foster is a car enthusiast — so much so that the world famous architect found time to organize an exhibition highlighting over a century of automotive design, Motion. Autos, Art, Architecture, sponsored by Iberdrola and Volkswagen Group and presented at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.

The curators of the show challenge the idea that different mediums operate in isolated silos, instead presenting a vision of how visually and culturally different disciplines are linked.

In the exhibition aerodynamically designed cars begin to influence everything from locomotives to household appliances.  The show is structured into six themed galleries:

  1. Beginnings trace the origin of the automobile from horse carriages to the Porsche Phaeton, a fully electric car with motors embedded in the hubs.
  2. Sculptures here the flowing lines of a Bugatti Type 57sc Atlantic are contrasted with Henry Moore‘s Reclining Figure sculpture.
  3. Popularising explores the automobile’s mass appeal with the Beetle, and the pop culture similarities of the Austin Mini and the mini skirt.
  4. Sporting documents the technical feats developed for competitive racing, especially Formula 1
  5. Americana introduces the romantic American road trip and the related works by Ed Ruscha and Donald Judd
  6. Future is devoted to student work exploring their vision for mobility

In addition to the six galleries, Motion presents a mock up of a clay modeling studio with a replica of the Lyriq EV from General Motors.

Leka Hileman Waitoller, Curator; Ignacio S. Galán, Chairman and CEO of Iberdrola; Lord Norman Foster, Curator; Herbert Diess, CEO Volkswagen Group; Juan Ignacio Vidarte, Director General of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. Courtesy of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

Edward Ruscha
Standard Station, 1966
7‑color screenprint
65 x 101.6 cm
Artist proof
Courtesy of the artist
© Ed Ruscha


Giotto Bizzarrini
Ferrari 250 GTO, 1962
Ten Tenths
© Ben de Chair

Ezra Stoller
General Motors Technical Center, 1949
© General Motors

R. Buckminster Fuller
Dymaxion #4, 2010 (based on #1-3, 1933-34)
Foster Family Collection
© Norman Foster Foundation

Wrapped Volkswagen (Project for 1961 Volkswagen Beetle Salon), 2013
(Project 1961)
Collage graphic with original Volkswagen covered in fabric and hand-overpainting
55.8 cm x 71 cm
Ed. Nr.: L/XC + 160 + 50 AP + 15 HC
Galerie Breckner
© Christo, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2022

Jean Bugatti
Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic, 1936
Merle & Peter Mullin, Melani & Rob Walton and the Mullin
Automotive Museum Foundation
© Photograph by Michael Furman

SS10 cover