Gas Station DeSign: A Tour Through the Collection

Event Date: 

Saturday, February 16, 2013 to Sunday, May 12, 2013

Gas Station DeSign surveys the architecture of gas stations from the widespread popularity of the automobile in the 1930s to the height of twentieth-century car culture in the mid-1960s. The exhibition includes photographs and drawings of gas stations from the museum’s Architecture and Design Collection.  This visual tour emphasizes the pivotal and contested role of signs used for advertising.  This exhibition is organized by Christina Chiang, the Assistant Curator of the Architecture and Design Collection.  Companion exhibitions are on display in Cheadle Hall, second floor and the Arts Library entry.

The exhibition at the Arts Library displays pages from two photography books about gasoline stations.  Twentysix Gasoline Stations (1962) by pop artist Ed Ruscha is considered to be one of the major early influences on the emerging artists' book culture.  His photographs of gas stations along iconic Route 66 between Oklahoma City and Los Angeles depict an era and culture devoted to the automobile.  Thirty years later, artist Jeff Brouws exploed the fate of similar gas stations in his Twentysix Abandoned Gasoline Stations (1992), a respectful riff on Ruscha's work and a poignant commentary on the vanishing independent gas station in America.  This companion exhibition was organized by Christina Chiang with the assistance of undergraduate intern Tara Kopp '13, who organized the display in Cheadle Hall.

The exhibition is supported by Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck, in memory of Reuben Katz, who was the owner/operator of "Commercial Super Service" truck terminal, Los Angeles.

drawing by Kem Weber of a Union Minute Man Station with two canopy wings

Kem Weber, Union Minute Man Service, Union oil station, 1945-1947, Architecture and Design Collection.