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Midtown Atlanta sculpture debuts, offering commentary on car-centric lifestyle

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Autoeater parks at 10th and Peachtree streets, replacing popular Rock Spinner sculpture

The sculpture of a white car being swallowed trunk-first by marble.
Nom nom nom ...”
Midtown Alliance

Upended cars aren’t all that uncommon on Atlanta streets, with accidents across the metro being a daily occurrence, but a new art installation in the heart of Midtown is a bit different.

Last week, Midtown Alliance oversaw the installation of a new sculpture to replace the ever-popular Rock Spinner at the corner of Peachtree and 10th streets.

The new installation, Autoeater, features a Fiat Panda being swallowed by 16 tons of Carrara marble. A work of German artists Venske & Spänle, the sculpture will stand tall at the northeastern corner of the intersection for the next three years.

As one of the busiest intersections in the neighborhood, the location is apropos for a sculpture depicting a car—nearly a necessity in Atlanta—being overtaken by nature. But as with art, there’s potential here for a lot of layers of analysis, according to Midtown Alliance’s description:

The smooth marble form of the base is juxtaposed with the machine-made body of the Fiat Panda. Introduced abroad in 1980, the Panda was designed as a cheap, easy to operate, no-frills utility vehicle for city driving. The three-door model, with a two-cylinder engine, epitomized practicality.

As the Italian counterpart to the iconic Volkswagen Beetle, the Panda is one of the most popular cars in automobile history. Driving a Panda was part of an alternative lifestyle in the youth of the artists, now long past.

Since the piece arrived from Italy and was erected last week, many have weighed in on social media. Marcia Wood, owner of the gallery that brokered the deal for the installation, noted that “provocative public art can add to the culture and vibrancy of a city,” but many were quick to cast a more disparaging assessment of the work.

Maybe its presence for the next three years will change some minds.

Midtown Alliance