BMW Art Car History – For our Enthusiasts
History of the BMW Art Car Collection.
The BMW Art Car Collection started with the BMW racing car designed by Alexander Calder in 1975. The first BMW vehicles to form the subjects of visual art were racing cars used in the Le Mans 24 Hour Race. Calder was followed by other American artists. In 1976, Frank Stella designed a BMW 3.0 CSL with a geometric pattern resembling graph paper. In 1977, Roy Lichtenstein created a flowing pattern of lines reflecting the roads and landscape passed by the car. In 1979, Andy Warhol attempted to project a visual sense of speed on a BMW M1.
Robert Rauschenberg’s BMW 635 CSi incorporates motifs taken from classic works of art and photographs depicting the natural world. In 1982, Ernst Fuchs also painted a BMW 635 CSi where he turned the body into a projection for his own powers of imagination. During the 1980s, the collection was expanded internationally: The “Art Cars of the Continents” started in Australia in 1989 where Michael Jagamara Nelson, brought up in the tradition of the aborigines, and exponent of western art Ken Done were each given a BMW M3 to design.
In 1990, Japanese artist Matazo designed a BMW 535i with a sensitive foil impression technique. Speed and aerodynamics determine the work by Spanish painter César Manrique, whose BMW 730i appears to flow through the room without encountering any resistance. In 1991, German artist A. R. Penck followed on to produce a fascinating interpretation of a three-dimensional object. At the end of 1991, South African artist Esther Mahlangu painted a BMW 525i and transferred modes of expression handed down within her Ndebele tribe to a modern technology platform. Italian artist Sandro Chia interpreted the prototypes of a 3 Series touring car as an object reflecting the looks of the observer like a mirror. English artist David Hockney presented his BMW 850 CSi in a form that turns the inside to the outside and appears transparent.
In 1999, American Jenny Holzer “texted” the 15th BMW Art Car using her conceptual statements – which she called Truisms – including the slogan: “Protect me from what I want”. The BMW V12 racing car ultimately returned the BMW Art Car idea to its starting point in Le Mans.
The latest BMW Art Car is the work by Danish artist Olafur Eliasson, a record H2R racing car powered by hydrogen. His work of art opens up new perspectives in space and installation for the BMW Art Collection.
So where is the BMW Art Car Collection at home? All over the world! In particular at top global art venues such as the Louvre in Paris and the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Anyone wishing to see the entire collection of BMW bodywork designs by artists such as Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons would have had to travel right around the globe; until now. To mark the 35th anniversary of the founding of this famous collection, and for a limited period only, the complete set of 17 BMW Art Cars has been called back to the place of its birth and is being exhibited in the BMW Museum in Munich. Unique and sensational.