Chester H. Liebs

Influence of the Automobile

“Chester H. Liebs shows that a drive through almost any American city is like a trip along a time line…. [He] examines the evolution of the repertoire of building costumes, signs, and special effects designed to ensnare the passing motorist…. Layer upon layer, the hopes and aspirations of decades are mirrored in the imagery used along the roadside.” –editor of Main Street to Miracle Mile

 

“When Chester H. Liebs analyzes the commercial environment as a ‘visual medium containing dozens of exhibits that mirror swings in the national mood’ he brings us up against ourselves.  This is a history you can pick out in your own life in your own town.” –Denise Scott Brown, New York Times Book review

The Automobile in American Life

Liebs’ book Main Street to Miracle Mile is credited as a reference and influence in the creation of the The Automobile in American Life exhibit at the Henry Ford Museum in 1987.  Liebs also served as a consultant to the curators.   

 

 

Cover of museum exhibit catalog.

MSS 843 BC, Box 14 Folder 20, Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico.

 

Prototype sketch for the exhibit featuring the Starlite Drive-in Theater, that Liebs photographed and used as the cover for the first edition of Main Street to Miracle Mile.

843-0122, MSS 843 BC, Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico.

 

The Open Road

The Open Road was a series of lectures within a multi-disciplinary education program focusing on the enduring themes of American art called American Icons.  These lectures were held at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1988.  Chester H. Liebs was the keynote speaker and his lecture, Icons through the Windshield, explained how we should view the “structures, signs, and symbols of the American highway as compelling reflections of the twentieth century”.  

 

 

MSS 843 BC Box 14 Folder 20, Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico

Automobile Lecture

Flyer from a lecture/film series about the automobile's extensive influence of 20th century culture c. mid 1970's.  

 

MSS 843 BC Box 14 Folder 20, Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico