Release Date: July 5,2018

Flights of Imagination with Planes, Trains & Automobiles at the Akron Art Museum

The Akron Art Museum will launch a new, year-long exhibition devoted to different modes of transportation in its Mary S. and David C. Corbin Foundation Gallery on July 26, 2018. Planes, Trains and Automobiles will feature prints, paintings and photography from the museum collection that explore transportation from such artists as Lee Friedlander, O. Winston Link, Bea Nettles and Raphael Gleitsmann. Central to the exhibition is a newly-commissioned work, Aeromorphiscope, an imaginative, interactive soft sculpture by Los Angeles-based artist Isla Hansen.

Akron Art Museum Director of Education Alison Caplan said, “Whether it’s revving up your engine to head out on a cross country road trip or jumping on your bicycle to pick up a gallon of milk across town, transportation is an important part of life. The artists featured in Plains, Trains and Automobiles take time to explore our relationship with the everyday machines we rely on. Viewers will have a chance to experience the magic of these works, hear from local transportation experts in the label text, play with a racecar track in the gallery and engage with an interactive sculpture.”

Hansen’s large sculpture invites visitors to take the controls of a plane with human-like qualities, jiggling and wiggling passengers and crew to keep them awake and keep the plane in flight. Hansen’s engaging work takes its inspiration from puppetry and cartoons.

Aeromorphiscope features numerous touch-activated animations, including frame-by-frame (or flip-book) style animation, animatronic, puppetry-style elements and 3-D graphics associated with contemporary animated movies and games. The artist built sensors into the soft foam arms of passengers that stick out of the sides of the plane. By pressing and moving the arms, visitors can activate 3-D animated characters in the plane’s windows, changing their shape and bringing them to life.

In her artist statement, Hansen has said of the artwork, “As technology evolves, and machines have more and more in common with us, do we have more in common with the machine? Do we evolve together or at odds? Are we humans evolving at all? Or do we ride, high up in the sky, floating, levitating, asleep to what awaits us back down on earth?”

Planes, Trains and Automobiles opens with a party on Thursday, July 26 from 4:30 to 6:30 P.M. The opening is free and open to all. Visitors will be able to play with and explore the Aeromorphiscope, create transportation-inspired prints using train tracks and take a trip with Kyle Jozsa, a professional storyteller from Wandering Aesthetics, who’ll be sharing his best travel stories and helping visitors create their own.

The museum also plans two free, interactive tours of the exhibition for members, on Tuesday, July 31 at 11:15 A.M. and Tuesday, August 7 at 2:00 P.M. The tours are filled with games and activities and are suited to children of all ages and their grown-ups. Register online at www.akronartmuseum.org/eventregistration.