The 1965 Fiat 500 is a focal piece in an exhibition titled The Value of Good Design. Picture: SUPPLIED
The 1965 Fiat 500 is a focal piece in an exhibition titled The Value of Good Design. Picture: SUPPLIED

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, established in 1929, is one of the most revered repositories of some of the world’s most famous artworks. The MoMA library alone is said to include about 300,000 books and exhibition catalogues, more than 1,000 periodical titles, and more than 40,000 files of ephemera. 

The museum even acknowledges art and design in the automotive industry, as seen by the recent induction of a 1965 Fiat 500 to its exhibition floors. MoMA is speculated to have bought the car in 2017 and it is one of a few automotive art pieces owned by the museum.

The legendary Italian mini car is on display as part of a new exhibition called The Value of Good Design. The chosen pieces aim to tell the story of industrial design, and the classic Fiat connects themes found in other pieces in the collection.

The Dante Giacosa-designed Fiat Cinquecento (500 in Italian) debuted in 1957 and in quick time its home nation and the rest of Europe grew fond of its cute self, officially nicknaming it “Bambino”.

Production ended in 1975, but in 2007 Fiat reincarnated the spirit with the modern Fiat 500 super-mini.  

MoMA says it acquired the 1965 model because it was part of the most popular Series F generation of the car that was built from 1965 to 1972. The Value of Good Design display is scheduled to run until June 15 2019.

Other automotive art pieces in the possession of MoMA and regularly displayed there are:

1949 Vincent-HRD Series C Black Shadow motorcycle

1953 Willys Jeep

1955 Vespa scooter

1973 Citroën DS 23 sedan

1998 Smart Coupé

However, since the 1950s MoMA has displayed various cars for many a theme. The 1999 Different Roads — Automobiles for the Next Century exhibition included the Fiat Multipla, while Designed for Speed — Three Automobiles by Ferrari featured vehicles by the Italian carmaker, among numerous other cars to have captured the eyes of MoMA curators.