On view at the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria
Raised in Lubbock, Texas, the artist and musician Terry Allen (American, born 1943 in Wichita, Kansas) works in a variety of media including sculpture, painting, drawing, video, installation, theater, recordings, and performance. Allen reconstructs memory through storytelling, overlaying personal narratives with political and social histories. The American romance with the automobile and the open road can be seen throughout the artist’s decades-long career, as he came of driving age in the 1950s, filled with the promise of adventure and escape. Allen has noted: “The sense of hurtling through great black empty space…late at night on a dead straight line of asphalt with headlights shining…driving a car as fast as it would go…and listening to The Wolfman on the radio turned up as loud as it would go…is probably where every freedom I most value first began.”1
Road Angel, 2016, a bronze cast of a 1953 Chevrolet coupe, embodies a range of emotional and nostalgic associations with the American automobile. The artist has placed this three-wheeled car far from any road, resting haphazardly amid the trees, as if the vehicle has careened off its path or the stage were set for a lovers’ tryst. Similarly to Allen’s first outdoor sculpture, Trees, 1986 (part of the Stuart Collection at the University of California, San Diego), Road Angel features an ongoing audio archive: recordings by musicians, artists, and writers emanate as if from the car’s radio at random intervals, recounting songs and oral histories lived in the backseat and behind the wheel.
1 Terry Allen, “The Wolfman,” from MemWars, 2016, video installation.
Text by Julia V. Hendrickson, Assistant Curator, with assistance from Jessi DiTillio.
Join us to celebrate new projects on view by artists Terry Allen, Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler, Monika Sosnowska, and SUPERFLEX. Admission is FREE all day at both Laguna Gloria and the Jones Center.
Drag racing east from L.A. in a souped-up ’55 Chevy are the wayward Driver (James Taylor) and Mechanic (the Beach Boys’ Dennis Wilson), accompanied by a tagalong Girl. They challenge a Pontiac GTO–driving wanderer (Warren Oates) to a cross-country race in possibly the greatest road movie ever made.
A diabolical truck driver hidden behind the wheel of his monstrous tanker truck relentlessly pursues an innocent motorist on a thrill ride through the California desert, in this updated western and thriller directed by Steven Spielberg.
Refused parole, a convict (Steve McQueen) and his wife (Ali MacGraw) strike a deal with a crooked Texan who agrees to pull strings in return for help on a bank heist. They take off after the job goes awry, aiming to get to Mexico before they’re caught, or worse, killed.
A waitress and a housewife (Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis) start out on a road trip and end up on the lam. Thelma & Louise updates the classic rite of finding oneself on the open road and the typically masculine genre of the road movie.
Terry Allen’s mysterious sculpture Road Angel gets a whole new soundtrack! Join the artists, musicians, and writers who contributed to this audio experience and enjoy tamales and refreshments.