When Cars Mean Something More

Curated by Norberto Rodriguez, “A School of Thought, Museum of Meaning + Venice Family Clinic Present Museum of Artist Cars” highlights the artist’s growing partnership with Venice Family Clinic. 

The biggest installation at this year’s Venice Family Clinic’s Art Walk & Auctions was the exhibit curated by Norberto Rodriguez. Ranging from a vintage mint-green Mercedes filled with the signature large balloons of installation artist Geronimo (a.k.a. Jihan Zencirli) to a refurbished Wonder Bread truck, the exhibit was meant to sweep away the air of mystery that sits between artists and the public.

Think “artists drive cars, too,” says Rodriguez. And it certainly provided the visual spectacle and engagement the 42-year-old artist is known for creating in his work.

“I’ve been here before and seen that space and thought, ‘Wow, there’s the potential to do something really interesting and grander in that space,” he says. “It just came down to timing.”

Well, that and trust.

Though he started contributing to Venice Art Walk back in 2012, the Arlington Heights-based Rodriguez has worked to become more involved in the event each year. This year, he volunteered to curate an exhibition.

Rodriguez credits his increased involvement to his relationship with the staff, which has developed into a trust that his work will go toward helping people.

“It’s difficult to find people to trust,” says Rodriguez. “When you’re an artist, a lot of people ask for a lot of work all the time. It’s an easy way to make money without the artist getting anything out of it. But I have this level of trust.”

That belief resulted in the collaboration between Rodriguez and the Clinic. The “one-day pop-up experience” featured cars from Rodriguez, Zencirli, The Art of Chase, Corinne Chaix, Alvaro Ilizarbe and Jens Lucking.

“I know that what I’m contributing will also serve the public in a way that I cannot,” Rodriguez says. “I’m not a doctor and I’m not a healer, so whatever I contribute is going to something that’s greater than me.”