CHANHASSEN, Minnesota — I really wanted to show you photos of Prince’s 1981 Honda CM400 Hondamatic motorcycle from “Purple Rain”, his 2006 Bentley Continental GT with purple flake shimmer paint, and his purple 1999 Plymouth Prowler, but Paisley Park security took my phone and camera during my group tour.
You’ll have to go see them for yourself in person and I highly recommend a pilgrimage to the late great musician’s very own super groovy Graceland.
While there you can also see the following classics in several nearby museums with more laid back photo policies. First up is this amazing 1948 Tatra T87 sedan spied at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.
Austrian Hans Ledwinka designed the striking sedan in 1936 and it was manufactured by the Ringhoffer-Tatra-Werke AG in 1948 in Czechoslovakia.
It sports an all-metal monocoque body with three headlights up front, a massive fin with a split window in back, and from most angles it looks like it is ready to take off.
Also worth a peek is located inside a glass cabinet behind the Tatra. The first is a car model from 1933 that is attributed to Dutch designer John Tjaarda.
It was made for The Briggs Company of Detroit, Michigan and I want one for my desk. Tjaarda later went on to design the 1936 Lincoln Zephyr.
Another cool car model that’s not hard to miss is this alien metallic green fiberglass one by the Ford Motor Company. It was made in the late-20th century according to the museum and looks like a FoMoCo spaceship from the future.
In a gallery across the way is another car-related sculpture by the world’s greatest artist of all time—Pablo Picasso. I nearly did a double take when I spotted “Baboon and Young” from 1951.
Picasso used two toy automobiles for its head, an earthenware storage jar, and a car spring for his funny homage to motherhood. The rest of the work was modeled from clay and then cast in bronze.
Lastly, across town there is a work by artist Charles Ray at the Walker Art Center that I almost dismissed as a real junkyard installation in the contemporary art gallery. The “Unpainted Sculpture” is from 1997 and it is made out of fiberglass and paint.
The artist found a 1991 Pontiac Grand Am (in a junkyard) that had been totaled in a fatal accident. Ray disassembled the wreck piece by piece and cast the individual parts in fiberglass. It was reassembled and coated in gray primer paint.
“If you look at the car, there’s a lot of Bond-O where things that wouldn’t seamlessly go together would be filled and smoothed and moved. It became not about duplication, is what I’m trying to say—it became about form and the perfection of form,” the artist has said about his work.
It was literally a hit for me and the Robert Longo drawings on the wall directly in front of the Grand Am really work here. Museums are great places to spot cool cars and some crazy art too.