SOUTHFIELD — Iconic automotive designers and art historians will discuss mid-century designs of the automotive industry on Wednesday, April 29, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Lawrence Technological University. The program in LTU’s Architecture Building auditorium, 21000 West 10 Mile Road, Southfield, is open to the public and admission is free.
Keith Nagara, director of the transportation design program at Lawrence Tech, will lead the panel discussion that is being held in conjunction with “American Dreaming: Detroit’s Golden Age of Automotive Design,” the first comprehensive exhibition to offer a look inside the design studios of Detroit’s automakers from 1946 to 1973.
The exhibition, which is also free and open to the public, will run through Saturday, May 2. The hours are noon to 5 p.m. every day in the gallery of LTU’s University Technology and Learning Center. The exhibition will also be open from 6 to 10 p.m. on April 29 for the panel discussion.
In the post-World War II era, Detroit-based automakers hired university-trained artists to produce visually appealing cars. During this mid-century period, styling and design were highly valued by automakers, and artists had the opportunity to shape the industry and change the look of the entire country.
What makes this exhibition particularly remarkable is that the car companies’ policies mandated the destruction of preliminary artwork once the final designs were selected for production, so the vast majority of this artwork has disappeared.
Sponsored by LTU’s College of Architecture and Design, the exhibition has been organized and curated by Robert Edwards and Greg Salustro, co-producers of a feature-length documentary film, “American Dreaming,” now in production. They will be filming the panel discussion.
“We want to shine a bright light into the world of Detroit’s automotive design studios and recognize the artists of this golden age of car design,” explained Edwards of Salustro/Edwards Productions.
Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers more than 100 programs through the doctoral level in its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Management.