The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum
at Michigan State University is proud to present "InterStates of Mind: Rewriting the Map of the United States in the Age of the Automobile," on view Nov. 7, 2020 – Apr. 10, 2021. The exhibition unpacks our fascination with the automobile and the different — at times competing — ideals that continue to shape our visions of the United States today.
"InterStates of Mind" traces the development of the automotive industry and interstate highway system through artworks from the early 1900s to the present. The exhibition features artworks from the MSU Broad collection presented alongside loans from other institutions including the Flint Institute of Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and the Detroit Institute of Art, as well as local archival materials that offer crucial historical context.
The works in the exhibition demonstrate how the automobile has become the ultimate symbol of American values: through it we experience opportunity, freedom and connection to one another, but also fragmentation and inequality. The automobile offered new possibilities for physical and social mobility, but few of these benefits were ushered in democratically.
“This exhibition critically reveals both the celebratory culture shaped by the advent of the automobile in America and, on the other hand, the intensification of existing racial, gender and economic inequity resulting from that same car culture,” explains museum director Mónica Ramírez-Montagut. “The artists explore this paradoxical nature of the automobile that albeit simultaneously connecting and dividing our communities, continues to embody notions of freedom, possibility and other ideas that shape our notion of ‘America.’”
"InterStates of Mind" pays special attention to the MSU Broad’s geographic context, providing unique insights to the roles played by cities like Detroit, Flint and Lansing in shaping this history. New work from several Michigan-based artists, firsthand accounts from community members and research by MSU faculty and other historians trace the complex routes of this narrative within our region.
Presented in tandem with InterStates of Mind, the MSU Broad will also display drawings and early concept sketches by Michael Burton, a Lansing native and the first Black designer to work for the top three automobile companies in the United States — Ford, Chrysler and GM. The exhibition dedicated to Burton’s work will be on view Jan. 5 – July 19, 2021.
MSU Broad admission is always free. To protect visitors and staff, the museum has introduced ticketed entry with scheduled arrival times, along with other new safety guidelines. Visitors can reserve their free tickets at broadmuseum.msu.edu/visit
. For more information about MSU's safety guidelines for campus and community, visit msu.edu/together-we-will
InterStates of Mind: Rewriting the Map of the United States in the Age of the Automobile is organized by the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University and co-curated by Steven Bridges, associate curator, and Georgia Erger, assistant curator, with research assistance from Thaís Wenstrom, curatorial research and administrative assistant, and Nick Sly and Dani M. Willcutt, graduate fellows in the Department of History. Lead funding for this exhibition is provided by a gift from MSU Federal Credit Union with additional support from the Eli and Edythe Broad endowed exhibitions fund.