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Museum of the Rockies to open new exhibits Jan. 22

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BOZEMAN — Automobile and motorcycle paintings and the cross-section of engineering and the human body will be the themes for the newest exhibits at the Museum of the Rockies. “LUSTER: Realism and Hyperrealism in Contemporary Automobile and Motorcycle Painting” and “Human Plus: Real Lives + Real Engineering” will both open on Saturday, Jan. 22.

“LUSTER” is a traveling exhibit of more than 45 paintings by more than 10 current realist and hyperrealist artists who use automobiles and motorcycles as their primary subjects. The exhibit intends to capture the vehicles’ status as icons of American art as well as symbols of the 20th and 21st centuries and encompasses a broad range of cars and motorcycles, from pre-1940 to more recent classic vehicles.

During the post-World War II boom years, cheap gas and the advent of the interstate highway system in 1956 propelled automotive design and sales. In the 1950s, the industry reached new heights, offering consumers increased horsepower and more artful, integrated design, exemplified by features such as tail fins. “LUSTER” features paintings of passenger automobiles from those boom years and since, plus a range of motorcycles and racing vehicles, according to Alicia Harvey, director of marketing for the Museum of the Rockies.

The “Human Plus” exhibit offers museum visitors the chance to explore a range of low- and high-tech tools that extend the human body’s abilities and create myriad possibilities to improve day-to-day life for people. The exhibit, funded by the National Science Foundation, features interactive examples such as a simulated downhill mono-ski course, a wheelchair used to control a DJ station, a touch panel that translates music into vibrations, a hands-free computer mouse controlled through slight movements of the head and more.

Visitors can also “redesign” themselves and test body enhancement technologies that supersize their strength in a full-body simulation that showcases the new horizon of engineering.

“From busy moms to engineers, adventurers to dance performers, people who use these new technologies and the innovators themselves share their stories through videos and the real-life tools they use every day,” Harvey said. “Whether caring for children or reaching the summit of Mt. Everest, these stories will captivate our visitors and engage them in the process of discovery and possibilities.”

The exhibitions will be on display through May 1. Museum members will have an opportunity to preview the exhibitions early from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 21. They are both included in the price of admission.

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