Big Car Collaborative didn’t just happen.

It developed in the context of its place in the Midwest of the United States, more specifically in the neighborhoods on the south edge of downtown Indianapolis, Indiana. This place — like the people who make up Big Car — is connected to both the urban and rural, to factories and farms alike. And Big Car is also a product of the many influences that have inspired our artists’ thinking and approaches to the work. Some of these come from the past and inform the present and the future. Some are contemporaries — many we have been able to meet during our travels or bring to Indianapolis for collaborations here.

A key to what we do: Big Car learns and develops and strives to make it new. But we understand that we live in a time when new means something different than it did to Marcel Duchamp. Now, new is about blending and linking and innovating by seeing how something like Surrealism can connect to street painting as well as community development. Here’s a list of some of Big Car’s key influences and contemporaries we have found inspiring, sometimes following the path of our growth as an organization:

Artists and Art Projects: Social practice/contemporary art

Francis Whitehead
Harrell Fletcher
Miranda July
Rick Lowe (Project Row Houses)
Theaster Gates (Rebuild Foundation)
Mark Allen (Machine Project)
Davy Rothbart (Found Magazine)
Tyree Guyton (Heidelberg Project)
Juan William Chávez (Pruitt-Igoe Bee Sanctuary)
Candy Chang
Hans-Ulrich Obrist
Center for Land Use Interpretation
Museum of Jurassic Technology
Laundromat Project
Conflict Kitchen
Mattress Factory
Soap Factory
City Museum
Open Field

Read about adaptive reuse spaces in America that have influenced out thoughts here.

Placemakers and Urbanists

Jan Gehl
Jane Jacobs
William Whyte and his filmThe Social Life of Small Urban Spaces
Project for Public Spaces

Mindy Thompson Fullilove
Tactical Urbanism Check out this video by Anthony Garcia.
Parking Day
City Repair Project
Better Block

Majora Carter 
David Engwicht (Creative Communities) watch this video
Mansfield Frazier
Walk Your City
Sit on It Detroit
Springboard for the Arts

Dada and Surrealists

A great archive of audio, video, text for influences listed below: UbuWeb
Andre Breton
Max Ernst (especially these)
Marcel Duchamp
Rene Magritte — watch this documentary.
Hannah Höch
Joseph Cornell
Frida Kahlo
Pablo Picasso and cubism
Salvador Dali
Federico García Lorca
Paul Éluard
Other Surrealist poets
See also Guillaume Apollinaire


George Maciunas
Yoko Ono
George Brecht
Check out this booklet of Fluxus event scores


Allan Kaprow

Social Sculpture

Joseph Beuys

The Situationists

Enjoy a derive today

Pop art

Andy Warhol

New Games

The New Games Movement is best understood by reading these books

Avant garde modernist writers

William Carlos Williams (watch this documentary)
Gertrude Stein
Ezra Pound
Ernest Hemingway

Magical Realists

Gabriel García Márquez
Jorge Luis Borges read this story

The Beats

William Burroughs
Jack Kerouac
Richard Brautigan
Charles Bukowski

More great writers

Kurt Vonnegut
Mari Evans
Etheridge Knight
Sam Shepard
Caryl Churchhill
Samuel Beckett


John Cage
Pauline Oliveros
Philip Glass
Pierre Bastien (watch this video)
The Beatles
Velvet Underground
David Byrne


Melli Hoppe
Neo Futurists


David Lynch
Charlie Kaufman (listen to this interview)
Stanley Kubrick
Coen Brothers
Jan Švankmajer (watch this video)
Quay Brothers
Luis Buñuel
Roy Andersson
Michel Gondry

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