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LEGENDS OF THE OPEN ROAD

Legends of the Open Road: The History, Technology and Future of Automobile Design, published by Skira Editore, 2007

By C. Antonio Romero

SAN FRANCISCO, 22 DECEMBER 2007- When a gorgeously produced tome with a title like Legends of the Open Road and a gorgeous, if unrecognizeable, bright red Alfa Romeo shows up in the review queue as we come into the home stretch before Christmas, it's easy to assume coffee-table-book good looks herald the usual coffee-table vapidity, barely-there-enough prose stringing together glossy, ogle-worthy pictures of brilliant objects of desire.


Legends of the Open Road: The History, Technology and Future of Automobile Design, published by Skira Editore, 2007.

A subtitle like The history, technology and future of automotive design does little to dispel this impression-at best, one expects curmudgeonly reminiscence from old Porsche hands and a look under the hood of today's Prius or tomorrow's Tesla.


Legends of the Open Road: The History, Technology and Future of Automobile Design, published by Skira Editore, 2007

Fortunately, however, these impressions are very much mistaken in this instance. "Legends" might have been better rendered as "Myths", as this is actually the exhibition catalogue for Mito machina, Motor Car Design: History, Technology and Future , from the MART, Museo di Arte Moderna a contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto (MART).


Legends of the Open Road: The History, Technology and Future of Automobile Design, published by Skira Editore, 2007

Museum director Gabriella Belli and the curators and contributors have delivered a volume where auto-porn-worthy images of cars past, present, future and fantasy almost take a back seat to substantial essays that delve deeply into the automobile as cultural, aesthetic and technological artifact, as well as its interplay with its imaginative, geographic, and economic contexts.


Legends of the Open Road: The History, Technology and Future of Automobile Design, published by Skira Editore, 2007

Publisher Skira Editore deserves credit for delivering an unexpected treat that stays interesting even after you're done leafing through it to see pretty pictures.

Legends of the Open Road: The History, Technology and Future of Automobile Design
Edited by Gabriella Belli

Hardcover: 560 pages
11.4 x 9.8 x 2.3 inches
830 color, 130 b/w illustrations
Skira Editore (November 2007)
ISBN-10: 8861300669
ISBN-13: 978-8861300668
$100.00 US
$129.00 CAN

C. Antonio Romero is the Nouveau and technology editor of Culturekiosque.com. He last wrote on Free Rice: Feed Your Brain, Feed the World.

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