Art in the context of the automobile is more than just making a car look good. It is only through a full understanding of spatial reasoning, the movement of lines and the beauty of pure symmetry to create a car both powerful and beautiful capable of standing out against the test of time, and BMW has long understood that connection.
But that’s not to say a mechanically beautiful and artistic car can’t add a little flare.
For 40 years, the world’s top artists have contributed to the marque’s race teams through adding their unique touch to the exterior, creating the BMW Art Cars as we know them today. The first to do so was Alexander Calder in 1975, and as a press release issued by BMW today tells us, it was at the request of Calder’s friend and French racing driver Hervé Poulain. On Dec. 22, 2014, we shared a video of Poulain describing this request, and looking at the growth of the program since.
Since Calder first painted his, the likes of Frank Stella, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Jeff Koons and Jenny Holzer have all contributed their own touch to a different BMW race car, and in honor of 40 years of what have been dubbed “rolling sculptures,” a series of shows around the world are providing enthusiasts with the opportunity to see them in person.
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While a few of the Art Cars remain permanently on display at BMW’s headquarters, the rest are making their way across the globe, “to art fairs in Los Angeles, London and Hong Kong, as well as exhibitions at the Louvre, the Guggenheim and the Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai,” as the release describes.
BMW is also hoping to involve the enthusiast community in bringing the Art Cars to the world of social media by sharing a story about “what the ‘art car’ means to them” using the hashtag #BMWArtCar.
Send out your tweet with your own story, then find yourself the perfect BMW for your favorite artist to enhance from our exclusive listings of BMWs for sale.
10. Jeff Koons 17. BMW Art Car, 2010 (BMW M3 GT2) (05/2010)