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One-of-a-kind Houston museum mixes art & art cars


The a single-of-a-variety gallery mixes extra conventional good at with the kind on wheels.

HOUSTON — When Ann and Jim Harithas opened Houston’s Artwork Vehicle Museum in 1998, they needed to offer you a spot the place you could see art autos calendar year-round. The consequence is a gallery that mixes far more conventional fine art with the variety on wheels.

“Art cars and trucks are a uniquely new American art variety and they should really be revealed with wonderful artwork for the reason that they are good artwork,” says Alicia Duplan. 

The museum is at present featuring operate by local artist Harold Bourdier.

“We preferred to have some automobiles that complimented that, so all the vehicles are steel,” Duplan points out.

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Those people autos, which from the museum’s personal assortment of 20 or so award-successful artwork autos, are Phantoms, Bat Wing and Cigs Destroy. Nevertheless all are made out of metal, they have distinctly distinctive personalities.

Motivated by the Bugatti Atlantic Coupe of the ’30s, artist WT Burge’s Phantoms capabilities haunting faces on the entrance close and fenders.

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“He tack-welded each and every and every little piece of mild steel,” factors out Duplan. “It’s a attractive vehicle. It’s not easy to push, but it is a stunning car or truck.”

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Although Phantoms was built from the ground up, it really is uncomplicated to tell Bat Wing was when a VW Cabriolet.

“It is really kind of refined, but it really is a natural beauty,” Duplan claims. 

Crafted by longtime artwork car or truck artist Johnny Rojas, Bat Wing features two sculpted wings, metallic spiderweb detailing on the grill and headlines, as properly as a spider on the again stop.

“It truly is very detailed,” says Duplan.

Then there is certainly Cigs Eliminate. Motivated by artist Alex Harrah’s battled with COPD, as properly as the deaths of his parents from longtime smoking, his message is distinct: cigarettes get rid of. The 1951 Nash Statesman was stretched in the entrance to dwelling a 1978 Lincoln Continental chassis and motor. 

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“He hand-crafted all the copper. He sculpted what I connect with the Nicotine Demon. He did the total inside, upholstered it,” Duplan says. “It just has so quite a few aspects on it. Pushing up daisies about the home windows. The cymbals are on the tires as hubcaps simply because it’s all symbolic.”

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You can see examples of the museum’s other automobiles in photos of earlier exhibitions. 

“There are individuals who just experience compelled – or ‘driven’ – to beautify their vehicles, to customise them,” suggests Duplan.

Ann Harithas was 1 of these people.

“She was just incredibly involved in the art auto scene, just assisting assist artists. She has finished various of her have automobiles,” Duplan claims.

Ann and her partner Jim passed absent in December. To honor Ann, parade organizers at The Orange Exhibit introduced the “Ann Harithas Legacy Award.” But that is not all.

“We are getting 10 of our museum-owned artwork automobiles at the starting of the parade,” shares Duplan.

It truly is a fitting tribute to a female who not only embraced, but celebrated, Houston’s unique artwork automobile society.

“We’re just seriously grateful she walked the planet with us,” Duplan included. 

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