Since 1975, the BMW Art Car Collection has been creating 'rolling masterpieces' in collaboration with leading artists from around the world. Take a look and get inspired.
#19 JOHN BALDESSARI:
BMW M6 GTLM (2016).
Los Angeles art scene legend John Baldessari drew on his famous artistic trademarks for his BMW Art Car. Baldessari turned to well-known stylistic devices and created an iconic work that unites his creative practices of the past fifty years in a unique manner.
“For the BMW Art Car project, I entered uncharted territory, not just in terms of the subject, but also moving from two- to three-dimensional art.”
#18 CAO FEI:
BMW M6 GT3 (2017).
The youngest and first ever Chinese artist to create a BMW Art Car, multimedia artist Cao Fei addresses the future of mobility such as autonomous driving, airborne cars and digitalisation with her BMW M6 GT3.
“To me, light represents thoughts. As the speed of thoughts cannot be measured, the #18 Art Car questions the existence of the boundaries of the human mind.”
#17 JEFF KOONS:
BMW M3 GT2 (2010).
American artist Jeff Koons sees the BMW M3 GT2 with racing number 79 as a tribute to the BMW M1 designed by Andy Warhol in 1979. Like Andy’s car, Koons’ BMW also took part in the legendary Le Mans 24-hour race.
“These racing cars are like life itself, they are bursting with power and have tremendous energy. You can be drawn into it, build on it and unite with this energy.”
#16 OLAFUR ELIASSON:
BMW H2R (2007).
Olafur Eliasson transformed a BMW H2R by replacing the outer covering with two reflecting layers of superimposed metal, before covering it with ice. Its themes were mobility, temporality, renewable energies and global warming.
“By bringing together art, design, social and environmental issues, I hope to contribute to a different way of thinking-feeling-experiencing cars and seeing them in relation to the time and space in which we live.”
#15 JENNY HOLZER:
BMW V12 LMR (1999).
Like all BMW Art Cars, the BMW V12 LMR with its 380hp is both racing car and work of art. It provided an immediate demonstration of its performance at the 24-hour race in Le Mans. To avoid unnecessarily increasing the weight, Jenny Holzer used a lightweight foil for the lettering instead of chrome.
“Protect me from what I want.” This and other provocative messages characterise the Art Car by Jenny Holzer, the artist and critic.
#14 DAVID HOCKNEY:
BMW 850 CSi (1995).
Over several months, Hockney turned the contents of the BMW 850 CSi inside out. The bonnet sports a stylised reproduction of the engine’s intake manifold, the driver is visible through the door, and a dachshund can be seen sitting on the back seat.
“BMW gave me a model of the car and I looked at it time and time again. Finally, I thought it would be a good idea to show the car as if one could see inside.”
#13 SANDRO CHIA:
BMW 3 Series Racing Prototype (1992).
Through his artwork, Italian-born painter Sandro Chia brought a touring racing car prototype of the BMW 3 Series to life. The silhouettes and portraits on the paintwork are intended to prompt observers to look at themselves as if in a mirror.
“The car is a coveted object in our society. As such, it is exposed to many stares from observers. This car here reflects these stares.”
#12 Esther Mahlangu:
BMW 525i (1991).
The first BMW Art Car to have been signed by a woman, Esther Mahlangu passed on her tribe’s traditional means of expression to an object of contemporary technology.
#11 A. R. Penck:
BMW Z1 (1991).
German artist A.R. Penck transformed a BMW Z1 into a work of art using symbols, images and his legendary stick figures.
#10 Cesar Manrique:
BMW 730i (1990).
César sees cars as everyday objects that play an essential role in how the world around us looks. So the design for his BMW Art Car reflects the colourful splendour of his homeland.
#09 Matazo Kayama:
BMW 535i (1990).
Using techniques such as ‘Kirigane’ (metal cutting) and ‘Arare’ (foil print) Matazo wanted to emphasise his fascination of BMW technology and create vivid associations with modern Japan.
#08 Ken Done:
BMW M3 (1989).
Ken Done wanted his BMW Art Car to express the fascination he held for the high-performance car, but it also had to represent his homeland Australia.
#07 Michael Jagamara Nelson:
BMW M3 (1989).
Australian artist Michael Jagamara Nelson transformed a black BMW M3 into a Papunya work of art. These reflect religious myths passed on for thousands of years by generations of Aborigines.
#06 Robert Rauschenberg:
BMW 635 CSi (1986).
Robert uses his BMW Art Car to make his dream of a driveable museum come to life. The BMW 635CSi is the first BMW Art Car to have its bodywork decorated with photographic renderings.
#05 Ernst Fuchs:
BMW 635i CSi (1982).
Austrian born Ernst Fuchs’ BMW Art Car represents two firsts: it was the first BMW Art Car to be created using a serial production BMW, as well as the first to be designed by a European artist.
#04 Andy Warhol:
BMW M1 (1979).
Designed by Andy Warhol, this work of art on wheels was employed in racing for the first and last time in the 24-hour race at Le Mans in 1979. “I tried to portray a sense of speed. When a car is going really fast all the lines and colours become a blur.”
#03 Roy Lichtenstein:
BMW 320i (1977).
The third BMW Art Car is one of the most popular: the BMW 320i by Roy Lichtenstein. It harmoniously combines the aerodynamic requirements of the bodywork with the expressive work of this world-famous exponent of pop art.
#02 Frank Stella:
BMW 3.0 CSL (1976).
In 1976 another BMW Art Car shot around the Le Mans race circuit at over 83mph. Despite the high level of anticipation generated in the art world by the first BMW Art Car, the BMW 3.0 CSL by Frank Stella satisfied all expectations.
#01 Alexander Calder:
BMW 3.0 CSL (1975).
In 1975, Alexander Calder created the first BMW Art Car and quickly caused a sensation: the uniquely painted BMW 3.0 CSL was entered for the 24-hour race in Le Mans where it brought its 480hp onto the track.