Art is in the Eye of the Steering Wheel Holder

Miami, Florida

Even a casual reader of this blog understands that MacGyver, responsible for all of our photographs, is an artist. He sees beauty and complexity in frost on windshields and lighting fixtures in restaurants, as well as paint on canvas. He has exposed me to a lot of art in the past 25 years.

New York sculptor Gedi Sibony is inspired by non-traditional materials, plywood, cardboard, carpet, garbage bags, vinyl and used pieces of dry box trailers. This piece of a dry box trailer was valued at $80,000.

New York sculptor Gedi Sibony is inspired by non-traditional materials, plywood, cardboard, carpet, garbage bags, vinyl and used pieces of dry box trailers. This piece of a dry box trailer was valued at $80,000.

Driving our tractor-trailer unit more than 800,000 miles around North America has rewarded us with a surprisingly art-filled lifestyle. Our favorite artist is Mother Nature. She paints never-ending, constantly-changing landscapes that continue to thrill us, and chill us, every day.

Mother Nature has artist helpers. There’s a surprising amount of highway art, both official and unofficial, coast-to-coast. One of my favorite is on US 287 in Texas, between Dallas and Amarillo, a 1970s green Cadillac convertible filled with female passengers (mannequins), hair blowing in the wind, surveying the highway scene from a small knoll.

On the east side of I-5 in Northern California, about mile marker 740, is a dragon made of rusted tractor parts. On I-70 east of Indianapolis, Indiana a wood rowboat sits on stilts in a small lake. On I-95 in North Dakota, east of Dickinson, is Geese in Flight. The largest scrap metal sculpture in the world shimmers in the sunlight.

Motorists traveling North Dakota's 32-mile Enchanted Highway are treated to the world's largest scrap metal sculptures. Works by local artist Gary Greff. Geese in Flight is the most famous piece.

Motorists traveling North Dakota’s 32-mile Enchanted Highway are treated to the world’s largest scrap metal sculptures. Works by local artist Gary Greff. Geese in Flight is the most famous piece.

There are roadside farm equipment museums across the Plains. One of my favorite pieces is a giant orange fiberglass Moose in Black River Falls, Wisconsin on I-94 at exit 106. If you don’t agree that the moose, peeking through the surrounding green foliage is art, then you might not see that trucking is art. Big, expensive art.

While MacGyver’s preferred medium is black and white film, many artists at Miami’s 2014 Art Basel used truck parts as an artistic muse and medium.

Art Basel is a must-visit because it allows the public to stand a nose distance away and inspect artwork. Walking through hundreds of exhibitions conceived by artists from Mumbai to Munich to Montreal, we found the work of the well-known, such as Ai WeiWei, and the newer contemporary artists,  transforming using every day objects dabs of paint and miles of string to give viewers a new and different perspective.

Ai Weiwei’s perfect acrylic cube was on display at last year’s Art Basel. We were also introduced to the work of Karel Funk. The Winnipeg, Manitoba artist who turned his Manhattan subway experience, a stranger’s hot breath on one’s neck during rush hour into his much-heralded hyper-realistic portraits.

The top is a selfie by Ai Weiwei taken when he was arrested by police in Beijing, it reflects through a perfect acrylic cube.

The top is a selfie by Ai Weiwei taken when he was arrested by police in Beijing, it reflects through a perfect acrylic cube.

“I wanted to convey that moment when you’re forced to look intimately at the back of a stranger’s head, but I didn’t want there to be any emotional connections,” Funk told W Magazine in an interview. His paintings include minute details, individual hairs of fur on a parka, with microscopic clarity.

Around another corner, we were stopped in our tracks by the work of New York artist Gedi Sibony.

“That looks like a piece of a dry box trailer,” I whispered to MacGyver, stunned to see something so familiar in an unexpected setting, and clean. Aluminum trailer doors are another canvas for Sibony’s creations.

“Is this a piece of trailer,” I asked the gallery rep. “Yes it is,” he said. Offering up the astounding price of $80,000 if I want to hang it in my home. I told him that a top-of-the-line, outfitted, van trailer costs about $60,000. Our Stepdeck trailer, new, with Conestoga tarp and ramps cost about $64,000.

In addition to the trailer doors, artists relied on tires and headlights and load securing devices to present their messages.

Miami’s Art Basel this year is December 3 to 6 at the Convention Center off Lincoln Road.

There is no truck parking, unless the curators deem your rig art.

Gallery: Art Basil Miami

6 thoughts on “Art is in the Eye of the Steering Wheel Holder

  1. LOLLLL – well if that piece of junk sells for $80,000 then you and I have been in the wrong business and need to launch ourselves as artist!

    Would be interesting to see who buys it at that price and then back track to where the money came from. Probably created in a third world country where seven year olds living in slums are working ten hours a day seven days a week just to survive.

    J

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    • Depending on the location, it’s interesting what is art. I know a Manhattan law firm that has an outstanding art collection. One of my favorite pieces sat at the bottom of a stairwell, a giant manila envelope. The bottom side faced out with the tab and red string that is wound around the tab for closure. I loved that piece. I always enjoyed looking at it.

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  2. “ART” truly is in the eye of the beholder! I agree nature is a fantastic artist who’s works I have enjoyed all my life. I too have many “works of art” I have for sale but only to the most discriminating of buyers. There has got to be more than one buyer? Right? Please let there be more than one discriminating buyer…Please.

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  3. I am writing this in a Motel near Sacramento, so will pay special attention as we pass the famous dragon heading back to Vancouver tomorrow. Last spring, in Asia, we viewed huge “robots” made of scrap cars and trucks. Art comes in many modes.

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