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Published on Tue, Nov 5, 2002

By: The LACar Editorial Staff



Los Angeles, CA - The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA) announced the first comprehensive exhibition of the work of American designer J Mays. The exhibition opened on November 17, 2002 at MOCA's The Geffen Contemporary, which is located at 152 North Central Avenue (next to the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo), and will run through March 9, 2003.

The exhibit explores J Mays' multidisciplinary approach to design, which draws inspiration from allied design fields. "Mays' ability to think across the spectrum of design and, in particular his knowledge of architecture, fashion, and industrial design, is what sets him apart from other automotive designers. The exhibition make it possible to treat Mays-designed cars as design objects in their own right," says Brooke Hodge, MOCA curator of architecture and design and the organizer of the exhibition.

Mays is currently vice president of design at Ford Motor Company, and previously worked for Volkswagen-Audi and BMW. His design work includes the concept for the Volkswagen New Beetle; the Audi AVUS, which inspired the design direction of many Audi cars, including the TT; and the redesigned Ford Thunderbird. "I am honored that my work will be shown at MOCA, which has earned a great reputation for its design and architecture exhibitions. Automotive design has been historically isolated from other related design fields, so I am especially pleased that it will be shown in the context of architecture and design," said Mays.

Mays approaches design holistically, thinking not only of the design of the automobile itself, but also the branding and identity that will accompany the final product. His concept of "retrofuturism" underlies his belief that the innovation of the past should be studied and drawn upon to inform the future. A focus of the exhibit will be duets of cars that illustrate Mays's design thinking - the 1949 Ford the new Ford Forty-Nine concept car (unveiled at the 2001 North American International Auto Show in Detroit), and the classic 1957 Thunderbird and its 2002 redesigned contemporary counterpart, among others. The exhibition will also explore the creative process behind the design of individual elements of a car, such as door handles, seats, grilles, fabrics, and textiles, and will position them relative to fashion, architecture, and industrial design. In order to place Mays's design in the context of seminal works of automotive design, the exhibition will feature a brief linear history of car design.

MOCA's Web site is located at

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