This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Daytona 500 in Daytona Beach, Florida the most important race in American motor sport and the kick-off to the 2008 nascar racing circuit. While there will be myriad events celebrating the race's half-century mark, none will be quite as unusual as "This is Where the Rubber Meets the Road," an exhibition by artist Steve Maloney.
Housed in the posh Daytona 500 Club until Feb. 28, Maloney's show comprises 31 sculptures crafted from the bodies of crashed or disused NASCAR race cars, which Maloney turns into colorful, abstract works. (The artist is not aware of any parts that have come from crashes involving fatalities.) "Andy Warhol had his soup cans, I have my Nascars," says the New Mexico-based Maloney. "This is a conceptual project, but also one that displays logos and icons from everyday American life."
Using pieces acquired mainly from vendors on the Internet, Maloney mixes his NASCAR parts rooftops and side panels work best with aluminum sheets, copper tubing, acrylic paint, canvas and the occasional piece of tire scrap. The results are fluid in form, while still betraying their auto origins. "I hope that both an art connoisseur and avid race fan can stand next to each other and equally appreciate the works," says Maloney, a former amateur racer himself.
Although he has already spent more than two years on his current exhibition, Maloney hasn't yet tired of cars as a source material. He has designed a massive new 18-ft. (5.5 m) car sculpture in honor of the Daytona 500's 50th year a work to be auctioned in Las Vegas, with proceeds going to Boggy Creek, a Florida holiday camp designed for chronically ill children. And come race day, Maloney will be at Daytona Beach to not only enjoy the events but to look for fresh parts. In fact, he has even been given permission to set up a trackside studio.
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