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Art meets automobile.

The BMW Art Car Collection is an unusual collection of “rolling masterpieces” which leading artists from all over the world have worked on since 1975. Throughout the years, famous artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Alexander Calder and Jeff Koons have been invited to design one-off automobiles of their age, giving rise to the BMW Art Car Collection.

#17 Jeff Koons (2010).

The latest model in the BMW Art Cars series comes from the American artist Jeff Koons. He sees the BMW M3 GT2 with the racing number 79 as a tribute to the BMW M1 designed by Andy Warhol in 1979.
'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.’ This is the artist himself talking about the inspiration for his work. As with the M1 painted by Warhol, Koons’ BMW also took part in the legendary Le Mans 24-hour race.

#15 Jenny Holzer (1999).

‘Protect me from what I want.’ This and other provocative messages characterise the Art Car by Jenny Holzer, the artist and critic.
Like all Art Cars, the BMW V12 LMR racing car with its 380 hp is both a racing car and a work of art. The car also 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 lustrous film.

#13 Sandro Chia (1992).

Through his art, the Italian-born painter Sandro Chia brings 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,’ the artist explained in an interview.

#11 A. R. Penck (1991).

Of the 8,000 BMW Z1 models in existence, this one is unique. German artist A.R. Penck transformed the model into a work of art using symbols and images. His legendary stick figures are also in evidence.
Penck drew his inspiration from artists such as Picasso and Rembrandt – but also from cave paintings and his fascination with mathematics and physics. ‘Art on art, art on technology, that grabbed my attention – particularly the idea of art on a 3D object,’ said Penck commenting on his high-tech masterpiece.

#10 César Manrique (1990).

The Spanish artist César Manrique sees the car as an everyday object that plays an essential role in the appearance of our surroundings. The design for his Art Car is therefore at one with the colourful splendour of his homeland.
He also draws inspiration from his activities as a passionate conservationist so that his Art Car embodies the harmony between technology and nature. ‘I thought of designing the car in such a way as to give the impression of being able to glide through the air without any resistance,’ the artist explained.

#06 Robert Rauschenberg (1986).

Robert Rauschenberg uses his Art Car to make his dream of a driveable museum come to life. The BMW 635CSi is the first Art Car to have its bodywork decorated with photographic renderings.
The right-hand side bears the image of a painting by Ingres, while the left-hand side is adorned by one of Bronzino’s works surrounded by swamp grass in the Everglades – the hub caps have been painted with images of ancient decorative plates.

#03 Roy Lichtenstein (1977).

The third Art Car is one of the most popular: the BMW 320 Group 5 by Roy Lichtenstein. It harmoniously combines the aerodynamic requirements of the bodywork with the expressive work of this world-famous exponent of pop art.
Lichtenstein’s characteristic comic strip style is also reflected in the paintwork. ‘The painted lines symbolise the road that the car has to follow and the artwork also portrays the surroundings through which the car is being driven,’ Lichtenstein explained.

#02 Frank Stella (1976).

In 1976 another Art Car shot around the Le Mans race circuit at over 300 km/h. Despite the high level of anticipation generated in the art world by the first Art Car, the BMW 3.0 CSL by Frank Stella managed to satisfy all expectations.
Frank Stella devised a black and white design resembling oversize graph paper. Cut-out lines all over the bodywork intensify the geometric look of the car. In the artist’s own words: ‘My design is a kind of blueprint applied to the entire body of the car.’

#01 Alexander Calder (1975).

In 1975, Alexander Calder turned a BMW into a moving work of art for the first time. The Art Car 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 480 hp onto the track.
The US artist used only primary colours and distributed them in broad swathes across the paintwork of the BMW 3.0 CSL. The use of differing colours within the individual elements and shapes added to the illusion of movement within the picture as a whole.
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