‘Trans Am Apocalypse No. 3’ by John Scott

a 1980 Pontiac firebird trans am, painted in black house paint and then words scratched into it, the words from Revelations in the New Testament of the bible, every part of the black surface is covered with words, in an art gallery

This is a 1980 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am painted with black house paint.   The words from the book of Revelation from the New Testament of the bible scratched into it, covering the whole surface of the car.

below: “Faithful until death” stands out on the door handle.  From Revelation 2:10 “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.

words from Revelations in the New Testament of the bible scratched into paint covering the whole surface of a trans am car, close up of door handle with the words faithful until death on it,

This is actually the third car that Scott produced. The first, finished in 1988 ended up being crushed into a cube of metal. The second, finished in 1993, is now in the National Gallery in Ottawa.  This one was finished in 2000 but it was homeless for a while.   In 2007 it was donated to the AGO (at that time it was housed in a barn). It was first displayed in 2016.

below: All 22 chapters of the Revelation to John fits on the car, including the part seen here: “He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.”   This is Revelations 3:12.

words from Revelations in the New Testament of the bible scratched into paint covering the whole surface of a trans am car, close up of the side of the car by the front passenger door, and front tire

The book of Revelation is written in a very symbolic language and there are different interpretations of its meaning.  One interpretation is that it was written to give ancient Christians hope for dealing with their own problems –  to stand firm in their faith despite the threat of death from the Roman government.

Another interpretation is that our world is doomed, that Revelation is a description of the “end of days” sometime in the future. This is the futurist interpretation of Revelation with its premise  that the prophecies in Revelation still await a future, literal fulfillment.  In this interpretation, the four horsemen described in the sixth chapter symbolize the evils to come at the end of the world.   This seems to be the interpretation that gets a lot of attention. 

I have no intention of writing an essay on this but I wanted to mention the horsemen because some of the words used by the AGO to describe John Scott’s car are “A symbol of American consumerism and machismo, the vehicle has been modified to produce a contemporary mode of transport fit for the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”.   The Trans Am, a doomsday vehicle on the highway to hell.

 

words from Revelations in the New Testament of the bible scratched into paint covering the whole surface of a trans am car, close up of the front corner of the car, headlights and part of hood

What drives a person to scratch out these biblical words, not once, but three times?  What goes through a person’s head while they’re working on it?

And I have one more question – wouldn’t a Mustang be a more appropriate vehicle for the four horsemen?

Comments
  1. Margie from Toronto says:

    I saw this when I was at the AGO a couple of weeks ago and thought it was interesting – and certainly an obsessive amount of work. And now I have “John the Revelator” running through my head!

    • Mary C says:

      Be careful! It took me longer than expected to put together this blog post because I started reading about the book of Revelation and all its interpretations. There are some rather strange websites, and even not so strange, that you can got lost in.

  2. Margy says:

    Yes, a Mustang would seem more appropriate…

  3. Mustangs are untouchable even for zealots. 😉

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