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Last chance to see Trans Am Apocalypse No. 3

July 27th, 2018

A sculpture of a car with text engraved on the exterior

John Scott, Trans Am Apocalypse No. 3, 1998–2000, incised text on acrylic paint on a Pontiac Firebird Trans Am 1980, approx.: 129 x 184 x 504 cm, 3300 lb. Art Gallery of Ontario, gift of Chris Poulsen, 2007. © John Scott

What weighs 3,300 pounds and is covered in Biblical scripture?

If you guessed Canadian artist John Scott’s celebrated Trans Am Apocalypse No. 3, you’re correct. Not familiar with this fantastic sculpture? Now’s your last chance to check it out before it drives off.

A unique work in our collection, Trans Am Apocalypse No. 3 is a 1980 V8 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. Between 1998 and 2000, Scott painted the vehicle with black house paint and etched in its surface the entire text of the Revelation of St. John the Divine from the New Testament. For Scott, Trans Am is the imagined vehicle of choice for a modern horseman of the apocalypse – a muscle car for an era of machismo and consumerism.

Close up of car door with engraved text

John Scott, Trans Am Apocalypse No. 3, (Detail), 1998–2000, incised text on acrylic paint on a Pontiac Firebird Trans Am 1980, approx.: 129 x 184 x 504 cm, 3300 lb. Art Gallery of Ontario, gift of Chris Poulsen, 2007. © John Scott

Over the past two years, the sculpture has undergone significant conservation efforts led by Sherry Phillips, the AGO’s Conservator of Contemporary Art. The conservation project – which included stabilizing paint layers, filling in paint loss and restoring text legibility – received the Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award for Excellence in Conservation.

Much of that conservation work was done out in the open, for AGO visitors to watch, in the Irina Moore Gallery on Level 2. Trans Am is still there, but it won’t be for long – it will be moved into storage on August 17. See it before it’s gone!

We spoke with Sherry about her experience conserving Trans Am. Watch the interview here:

Trans Am Apocalypse No. 3 is included with General Admission. Don’t miss your chance to see this fantastic sculpture!

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