Chrysler’s Ironic Art Choice

Slate's Culture Blog
Feb. 7 2011 4:51 PM

Chrysler’s Ironic Art Choice

Chrysler made a splash during last night's Super Bowl with its epic " Imported from Detroit " commercial, which Slate 's John Swansburg deemed "the night's best ad." Every detail in the two-minute spot seemed exquisitely chosen, from the rousing Eminem soundtrack to the gruff narration .

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But trend research company PSFK notes that Chrylser could have used a little art history lesson before it decided to include the Diego Rivera mural that graces the Detroit Institute of Arts. The work may be one of Motor City's glories, but it sure isn't flattering to the auto industry:

The work actually rallies against the tyranny of the car factories, protests at the soul destroying assembly lines and vilifies its commissioner, Henry Ford. In one scene, Ford is seen lecturing managers about a dog-like combustion engine as rows of faceless workers repeat their task over and over.

We were told by staff at the museum that after  Rivera  spent almost a year on the work (including time on the factory floor), the car industry wanted to destroy the work in the same way Rivera's work was  destroyed  in New York.

Perhaps Chrysler thought viewers would be too knocked out by that awesome shot of the Joe Louis memorial to notice?

Nina Shen Rastogi is a writer and editor, and is also the vice president for content at Figment.

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