custom art cars: art in the streets at MOCA, los angeles custom art cars: art in the streets at MOCA, los angeles
jul 07, 2011

custom art cars: art in the streets at MOCA, los angeles

‘ultima suprema deluxa’ (1981) by kenny scharf in ‘art in the streets’ at MOCA, los angeles image © designboom

the museum of contemporary art in los angeles’s current exhibition ‘art in the streets’ features several customized cars as sculpture: kenny scharf, keith haring and mister cartoon contribute different takes on the concept of the personalized car pervasive in street art culture.

los angeles native kenny scharf’s ‘ultima suprema deluxa’ features a 1961 cadillac with colorful psychedelic imagery in spray paint and urethane enamel. the car is additionally decorated on the inside and outside with plastic dinosaurs and other toys. using the name ‘van chrome,’ scharf has a history of customizing cars like this one since the early 1980s, and even once drove one cross country to an exhibition at larry gagosian’s los angeles gallery.

interior detail image © designboom

driver door detail image © designboom

passenger side detail image © designboom

installation view image © designboom

‘untitled’ (1983) by keith haring image © designboom

nearby scharf’s car, the exhibition features a 1966 buick special handpainted by pop artist keith haring. the car is covered with the illustrations of the artist’s trademark reptilian figures and geometric patterns in orange and blue enamel. haring once drove this car around manhattan’s lower east side.

driver side view image © designboom

front view image © designboom

installation view of ‘mister cartoon’s midnight express’ (2010) image © designboom

los angeles based mister cartoon contributes a customized ice cream truck as well as ‘midnight express’, a 1939 chevy master deluxe with colors of bentley black and candy cobalt blue over a charcoal base. though formerly focused on graffiti, the artist switched to graphic design to better translate his clean lines and great precision: he has since worked closely with numerous hip-hop artists to design their album covers, apply tattoos, and provide custom paint jobs such as this one.

image © designboom

— ‘art in the streets’ is on display at the geffen contemporary at MOCA, los angeles now until august 8, 2011. for more on this exhibition please see designboom’s general overview as well as coverage of work by banksy and swoon.

  • These designs on this car are very interesting. Is almost like its a culture based collage of sorts. I work web design and do alot of Car sites, so in my research I stumbled over this. The other art peices on the walls aside from the car are great as well, just a side note.

    [url=] Brainstorm Studio [/url]

    Long Island Web says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

art news