LTU To Talk Mid-Century Auto Design On April 29

Artist Bill Brownlie of Briggs Design proposed this new body theme for the Packard Clipper, but it was never used. Chrysler acquired Briggs Design in 1953, and Brownlie worked on many of the iconic Chrysler models in the 1950s and 1960s.

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,, 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.

0 thoughts on “LTU To Talk Mid-Century Auto Design On April 29

  1. Erin Stilman Post authorReply

    Hi, my name is Erin. A friend of mine sent me this link, and she thought I might be interested because my dad, Carl Cameron (ironically today would be his 80th birthday) might be mentioned in it. He was designer of Challenger, Charger and Dart, in whole or in part, and many other cars as well. Is there any way someone can let me know if his art will be talked about, or him in particular? Thank you so much for your reply.

  2. Dan Eastwood Post authorReply

    Dear Erin,

    I was at the Opening reception of American Dreaming a week or so ago, and I can tell you that your dad’s name came up in a conversation. I knew Carl back in the 1980’s and really enjoyed his joie de vivre and his great sense of style – so I recognized his name when it was mentioned. I can tell you that he was highly spoken of and well remembered in that conversation.

    I cannot tell you if any of his drawings were included in the exhibition, but there may be other opportunities to ask that he/his work be mentioned/included in the American Dreaming film if you contact the producers through the ‘American Dreaming Movie’ FaceBook page.

    I highly recommend you attend the American Dreaming Panel Discussion being held tonight, April 29th from 7-8pm at LTU.

    If you contact me through my FB page below, I can also put you in touch with a designer/instructor who worked with your father at Chrysler.

    I was very sorry to hear of his passing. He was a great man.

  3. Erin Stilman Post authorReply

    So glad that we met at this show last night. I would love for my dad’s work to be a part of this film. Being a part of last night’s audience was amazing, and educational. I especially loved the comment about the fact that if not for successful work done by designersl, profits could not be made, and thousands of people would be out of work. I remember my father staying up late at night working on designs when overtime was mandatory. I plan to email those who are making this film in hope that he can be a part of this historical project. Thank you for your kind words on his behalf.

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