40 YEARS OF GREAT ART: BMW celebrates 40 years of its amazing Art Cars. Image: BMW
Lichtenstein. Warhol. Koons. Stella. Calder. Rauschenberg. Holzer. Eliasson. Since a BMW 3.0 CSL painted by Alexander Calder lined up for the Le Mans 24-hour race exactly 40 years ago, the BMW Art Car Collection has fascinated both art and design enthusiasts as well as car and technology fans all around the world.
Ever since the invention of the motor car, artists have drawn inspiration from the thrill of speed, from the phenomenon of mobility and from racing cars as examples of modern sculpture. BMW Art Cars have been a central feature of this story since 1975.
First Art Car
The idea behind the BMW Art Cars was the brainchild of French racing driver and art enthusiast Hervé Poulain. Forty years ago, Poulain asked artist friend Alexander Calder to apply his creative talents to his race car. Together with Jochen Neerpasch, then BMW Motorsport Director, the first BMW Art Car was born and it became an instant crowd's favourite on the race track.
Each new addition to the BMW Art Car Collection has been made over the years at irregular intervals, with unique works of art from artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, David Hockney and Jeff Koons.
“The BMW Art Cars provide an exciting landmark at the interface where cars, technology, design, art and motor sport meet,” reflects Maximilian Schöberl, Senior Vice President, Corporate and Governmental Affairs, BMW Group.
“The 40-year history of our 'rolling in sculptures' is as unique as the artists who created it. The BMW Art Cars are an essential element and core characteristic of our global cultural engagement.”
The anniversary celebrations got underway with exhibitions in Hong Kong, at the Centre Pompidou, the BMW Museum and the Concorsod'Eleganza at Lake Corno, where the first four BMW Art Cars by Alexander Calder, Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, plus the M3 GT2 created by Jeff Koons, were all on display. Further presentations are set to follow later in 2015 in New York, Miami and Shanghai.
In 2014, Hatje Cantz published the first comprehensive publication on the BMW Art Cars. This 200-page book is richly illustrated and reviews the history of this extraordinary collection of cars from its beginnings in 1975. It uses portraits and interviews to shed more light on the various artists' themes and approaches.