After about a year of research for an automobile that embodies the American Dream, I found the magic symbolic combo: an American muscle car with the burning phoenix blazing across the hood, a car that announced independence for all adolescents with the launch of a GM-infused Hollywood movie Smokey and the Bandit—the 1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans AM.—Guy Overfelt
Guy Overfelt’s artwork references subjects as diverse as car culture, art history and notions of identity, such as gender, age, and class. His art practice is one in which ideas, and the strategies he creates to realize those ideas, constitute the artwork. His multidisciplinary approach includes performance art, sculpture, photography, work on paper, and video.
The body of work in this exhibition is the result of his fifteen-year journey with a 1977 Pontiac Firebird (Smokey and the Bandit) Trans AM. Burning rubber and recording each action with photographs, videos and melted rubber on paper, Overfelt’s performances take on the outlaw persona celebrated in the film. The car was repeatedly repaired and altered in a process of customization that ultimately resulted in total destruction. In acknowledgment of his failure to achieve his vision of automotive perfection, Overfelt decided to crush the car into a cube. A life-size, blow-up replica replaces the working vehicle. In typical tongue-in-cheek fashion, Overfelt’s macho posturing continues—only this time it’s full of air.