Photo exhibit at Detroit museum looks at American road trips

Route 66

DETROIT (AP) — An exhibition that’s making a stop at the Detroit Institute of Arts and a few other U.S. museums looks at road trips and their role in American culture.

“The Open Road: Photography and the American Road Trip” is on view starting Friday in Detroit and runs through Sept. 11. It features more than 70 photographs, including ones from Robert Frank’s 1950s book “The Americans,” contemporary artists and others.

“Road trips are a tradition in America and can clearly reveal what is unique about this country’s culture,” Salvador Salort-Pons, the museum’s director, said in a statement. “Photographers traveling through the United States have defined, critiqued and celebrated America, and many of the images in this exhibition are iconic in the history of photography.”

Cars, buses, motels, campsites, diners, signs, gas stations and people along the way have fascinated traveling photographers. Road trips by Ed Ruscha, who also is featured in the exhibition, led to the creation of his 1963 book “Twentysix Gasoline Stations”

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Others with photos on display include Justine Kurland, Garry Winogrand, Inga Morath and Alec Soth. The exhibition is organized by the nonprofit Aperture Foundation, curated by David Campany and Denise Wolff, and supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.

After Detroit it’s scheduled to visit the Amarillo Museum of Art in Texas this fall and the Museum of Fine Arts on St. Petersburg, Florida, next year. It previously was displayed at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.

A book titled “The Open Road: Photography and the American Road Trip” accompanies the exhibition. The Detroit Institute of Arts also will be hosting a photo contest on Instagram and is offering a summer road trip playlist on Spotify as part of the exhibition.


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