Read, Write, Run, Roam

Could the Ex-Yu Revive Yugo Next?


Over a decade ago, New York artist Kevin O’Callaghan decided to re-imagine the Yugo as art. It was 1995, ten years after the Yugo was introduced to America and three years after U.S. sales ended. He bought 39 Yugos for no more than $92 apiece, and commissioned students to turn them into new objects. The project was called Yugo Next.

The exhibit was a surprising success; it toured the United States and revived Yugo-mania for a second, brief period of time. The cars were remodeled to become new objects ranging from a portable toilet to a movie theater. I’ve included two favorites below:

You can see other Yugo Next cars here.

What RHOB wants to know is, whatever happened to the exhibits? Were they auctioned to collectors? Sold as scrap metal? Despite my extensive research 5 minutes of using Google I can’t find any information about them. I wonder if somewhere in America, a Yugo-phile is lovingly polishing his Yugo-confessional.

Heavenly father, it's been 3 days since my oil light came on...

I don’t know if any of the cars made it to Serbia, or whether the exhibition even made headlines here. There are still Yugos on the streets of Belgrade, though not nearly as many as in Kragujevac. Yet the days of Yugo sightings are numbered; the car hasn’t been manufactured since 2008. I imagine any old Serbian Yugos would be used for spare parts, not art.

Still, it’s fun to think of how Serbian artists might reinterpret the Yugo. Would they create a mini-Kalemagdan? A ćevapčići stand? The lighter has already been done—a shame since Belgrade is synonymous with smoking, but perhaps someone could redesign a Yugo as Belgrade’s “smoke ‘em if you got ‘em” sign:

Of course, there would have to be a Tesla Yugo, with a ball of lightning at the top. And a small tennis court in honor of Serbia’s recent Davis Cup and Australian Open victories. That would certainly top this foosball table Yugo:

What do you think, readers: any ideas for Ex-Yu artists to re-imagine Yugo Next?



2 responses

  1. Hello RHOB!
    My name is David and I am actually the creator of the Fireplace. Was googling around looking for sites and materials that had my work to add to my own site when I stumbled in here.

    To answer your question, for me anyway…I have no idea what happened to my Yugo after the show’s run ended. But if I were to guess, I would say that the curator, (Kevin O’) sold them and pocketed the money. He certainly didn’t give it to me. To this day, I have not made a penny off of my work for this show. However, he is selling expensive coffee table books now with all of his former students work in them. Would have been nice to have been sent a copy, or even told about it.

    If anyone knows what actually happened to all of these cars, the fireplace especially, please let me know.

    Thanks for the nice words and the post!

    Be well,


    April 12, 2012 at 12:50 am

  2. Facinating. I’m sorry you didn’t see any money from such a unique project. Hopefully someone can tell us where these beauties are today…

    April 18, 2012 at 6:32 pm

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