At MoMA, the love of cars can be exhausting

While one division of VW violated the Clean Air Act, another put its name on MoMA programming that would strengthen its civic credentials...


While one division of VW violated the Clean Air Act, another put its name on MoMA programming that would strengthen its civic credentials – including “Expo 1: New York,”At MoMA PS1, an ecological showcase funded by Volkswagen from 2013 which, in retrospect, looks like a blatant act of greenwashing.

“Volkswagen is das Auto, and MoMA is das Museum,” said Martin Winterkorn, then managing director, in 2015. It is now facing criminal charges in the United States and Germany, although he had long maintained that he was not aware of any wrongdoing.

Yet even after one of the biggest corporate and environmental scandals in history, Volkswagen’s US subsidiary remains the “primary education partner. “It supports the public programming of the PS1, which took place for nearly a decade in a Volkswagen-branded geodesic dome (eventually retiring in 2020). The museum has an internship program known as VW Fellows, who appear in Volkswagen promotional materials and even get to visit the car factory in Wolfsburg. And Volkswagen of America endorsed the restoration of the Beetle in “Automania,” which the museum initially acquired in 2002.

MoMA spokeswoman Amanda Hicks said in an email Wednesday that “VW has admitted to betraying the public trust” and “withdrawing the leadership that made this happen.” She added: “We have both continued our partnership and count on VW to deliver on its promise to put the best interests of the public first. “

And really, it could all be so much philanthropy from within, except that the organizers of “Automania” explicitly discuss polluters’ interest in art in the catalog and in the museum’s catalog. online journal. In both, Kinchin writes of the corporate practice of “artwashing, a now well-established branding strategy practiced by the polluting fossil fuel industry.” The curator highlights Shell, which commissioned posters of the bucolic English countryside from English artists; he also mentions Mobil, whose artistic philanthropy in the 1970s and 1980s was the subject of Hans Haacke’s institutional critique, and recent protests against BP sponsorship London museums.

For MoMA, criticizing Shell, Mobil and BP for “artwashing”, then ignoring the criminal polluters who still support its own museum, takes a real punch. But some drivers, even when the future looks unsustainable, find it difficult to give up their cars.

Automania
Until January 2; cars in the sculpture garden remain until October 10.
Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd Street, Manhattan; 212-708-9400, moma.org.

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Newsrust - US Top News: At MoMA, the love of cars can be exhausting
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