RIP: Car Sculptor Dustin Shuler


In their obituary for artist Dustin Shuler, who died earlier this month, the New York Times refers to him as a sculptor known for “known for impaling things, flattening things and putting things on top of other things.” Which sounds unremarkable if you’re not aware that said “things” were cars, resulting in large-scale pieces of roadside art that dotted hotels and shopping centers around the country. Shuler’s work was seen by many as a form of social commentary, but as he told The Chicago Sun-Times in 1996: “There’s no message. I go by gut feeling.”

You probably recognize his most famous piece, Spindle, which cameoed as the “Car Kabob” in the Wayne’s World movies; it was demolished a few years ago to make way for a Walgreens store. Click through to explore more of Shuler’s work.

Dance, 2008. Photo: ©2008 Dustin Shuler

The Scorpion and the Beetle, 1989. VW Beetle, Caterpillar Backhoe Loader and 20’ steel nail. 20’ X 35’ X 8’. San Bernardino, California. Photo: Bruce Ecker, ©1989 Dustin Shuler.

Death of an Era, 1980. 1959 Cadillac and large steel nail. 8’ X 18’ X 20’. Dominguez Hills, California. Photo: ©1980 Dustin Shuler.

Tutankhamun disguised as a Volkswagen Bus, 1978, Large nail and VW Bus. 20’ long. Santa Ana, California.

The Spindle, 1989. Steel, stainless steel, concrete and eight cars. 50’ X 18’ X 18’. Berwyn, Illinois. Photo: ©1989 Dustin Shuler.