The signed and numbered limited edition of America By Car is much larger than the trade edition, and features nearly 200 images. Sequenced by the artist and handsomely printed by Meridian Printing, the volume’s large reproductions echo the scale of Friedlander’s original prints.
Enduring icons of American culture, the car and the highway remain vital as auguries of adventure and discovery, and a means by which to take in the country’s vast scale. Driving across most of the country’s 50 states in an ordinary rental car, Friedlander applied the brilliantly simple conceit of deploying the sideview mirror, rearview mirror, the windshield, and the side windows as picture frames within which to record the country’s eccentricities and obsessions at the turn of the century. This method allows for fascinating effects in foreshortening, and wonderfully telling juxtapositions in which steering wheels, dashboards, and leatherette bump up against roadside bars, motels, churches, monuments, suspension bridges, landscapes, and often Friedlander’s own reflected image. Presented in a square format and taken over the past decade, the images in America By Car revisit themes from older bodies of work, returning to aspects of automotive architecture that Friedlander began exploring in the late 1960s and early 1970s.