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September 27, 2022

'Concrete Traffic' — Wolf Vostell


A 1957 Cadillac Sedan De Ville, encased in 15 cubic yards of concrete.

German artist Wolf Vostell created it in 1970.


From Atlas Obscura:


Casual observers could be forgiven for mistaking this object, which is in a parking space in the University of Chicago's Campus North parking structure, for a representational sculpture of a car.

In fact, it is an actual car — a 1957 Cadillac Sedan De Ville, to be exact — encased in 15 cubic yards of concrete.

Named Concrete Traffic, the piece was created by German artist Wolf Vostell in a January 1970 "happening" at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA).

Vostell was associated with the international art movement Fluxus, with which Yoko Ono (whose 2016 installation "Sky Landing" is located in Jackson Park, approximately 1.5 miles away) was also affiliated.

After six months on display at the MCA, the artwork was moved to an outdoor location in the Hyde Park neighborhood at 60th and Ingleside, where it remained for over four decades.

Eventually, Chicago winters began to take their toll on the piece, and in 2016 it was moved (below) to its current location inside the parking structure.


If you crouch down, you can see the original whitewall tires, hubcaps, and underbody of the vintage vehicle.


Note: this post appeared here on January 8, 2019; I happened on it yesterday and liked it so much still I figured it merited a second appearance.


Atlas Obscura last week dove deeply into the artist's 1971 Betonbuch (Concrete Book) and a very involved series of highly technical investigations seeking to learn whether the book stated to be within a concrete block was in fact present — now or ever. 

From Atlas Obscura:

This unusual tome (below) was "published" in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1971 by experimental artist Wolf Vostell.

Screen Shot 2022-09-23 at 1.31.50 PM

[Copy number 83 of Betonbuch is considered a book by the University of Chicago library system.]

It is one of 100 copies he created by — Vostell explained at the time — encasing a 26-page booklet in concrete.

September 27, 2022 at 02:01 PM | Permalink


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