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The stars posing for the cameras couldn't answer questions, or even speak, during this event. They just looked pretty, gave their spectators a chuckle or a healthy roar. A 1972 Dodge Charger accompanied by two Playboy bunnies, the newly-launched V-12 hybrid hypercar La Ferrari and an ancient XJ Jaguar blasting The Champs classic 'Tequila' from a set of jury-rigged woofers in its trunk were only some of the four-wheeled stars rolled out by Adam Lindemann's New York-based gallery Venus Over Manhattan in conjunction with Ferrari USA.

On the rooftop of the stunning 1111 Lincoln garage designed by PAMM architects Herzog & de Meuron, a series of sleek, matte-finish body Ferraris greeted visitors. Cars from different decades, from the 50's through the present, all took on varying forms as they had been treated by artists such as Damien Hirst, Dan Colen & Nate Lowman, Franz West, Kenny Scharf, Richard Prince and Richard Philips (who was clearly enjoying himself in the company of the Playboy bunnies posing in front of his custom-made collaborative Charger with Playboy).

Automotive delights included a dotted, vintage Mini courtesy of Hirst's studio, a kaleidoscopic custom Cadillac speckled with toy dinosaurs courtesy of Scarf and a rare treat in the form of an old Buick painted by Keith Haring. Two laugh-out-loud contributions came from Franz West, who replaced the iconic Rolls Royce 'Spirit of Ecstasy' hood ornament with a rather phallic-looking yellow sculpture and from duo Colen & Lowman, who stuffed an XJ8 Jaguar with oversize speakers streaming with open wires and consoles as The Champs' 'Tequila' played on a continuous loop. Guests could also bid, via Paddle 8, on a limited-edition Joshua Callaghan rubbing pulled from the new La Ferrari, first unveiled at the 2013 Geneva Auto Show.

If the exhibition achieved one thing, it was that the automobile (at its core) is a moving work of art: an utilitarian object that forever relies on its visual appearance to further its proliferation into both routine and extraordinary human activity. The automobile can propel us past the sound barrier and it can take our children to and from school, it can loop the Monaco Grand Prix in mere minutes and carry our dead to their resting place. For all that the automobile is to humankind, it remains an indelible visual marker in global culture and directly authenticates memory and the passage of time.

Piston Head: Artists Engage the Automobile opened at the 1111 Lincoln Road Garage in Miami Beach for a private view on December 3. Notable attendees included Leonardo DiCaprio, Cynthia Rowley, Bill Powers, and artists Richard Philips and Kenny Scarf. The exhibition was open to the public from December 4 to December 8. For more information, visit


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