Inaugurating Salon 94 Bowery's renovated space is Trabantimino, Detroit-based artist Liz Cohen's "hybridized car and kinetic sculpture that combines a former East German Trabant with a Chevrolet El Camino," (from show's press release). Trabantimino is an 8-year project that began with Cohen purchasing the Trabant in Berlin in 2002. Consulting a crew of expert mechanics from Oakland, Scottsdale, and Detroit, Cohen became a skilled mechanic, "doing most of the physical work herself." The artist meticulously amalgamated two "now-defunct Cold War era types"—the Trabant, the simple and practical "people's car" of East Germany, and the El Camino, "the all-American, large-bodied, low-rider cowboy car." The front and rear of the modest, slightly nerdy, beige Trabant are split apart to make room for the sexy and shiny "newly chromed American parts" of the El Camino.
Formerly a photographer, Cohen also "hybridized herself" during her 8-year project by photographing herself in a bikini, emulating the pin-ups and centerfolds typically associated with body shops and garages. The artist reinvented herself simultaneously as a handy mechanic and a "bikini-clad car show model." Also on view with the Trabantiminio sculpture is a series of black-and-white photos from 2005 titled 5 P's (Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance), Cohen's documentation of every tool her main mechanic mentor, Bill Cherry, has collected during his 30+ years career. With the ambitious and impressive construction of Trabantimino and her accompanying photographs, Cohen immersed herself in her art and "br[oke] down the barriers between her models and herself, literally becoming what she documented." Learn more at salon94.com. Through November 11th.