Bmw Art Car: artists at the wheel-

When in 1975 the French driver and patron Herv Poulain – ten participations in the 24 Hours of Le Mans to his credit – came up with the idea of ​​proposing that an artist decorate a racing car, no one could predict where that idea would lead. It was thus that a long-standing bond was born between art and the cars of the Bavarian house.

The principle was simple: a famous artist would have decorated a BMW racing car (later production cars were also introduced) according to his own imagination. Limitations and indications? None. From that day on, the term Art Car immediately recalls BMW originality. And those who want to mention one in particular often praise the M1 in Pop Art style, signed by Andy Warhol. But it means neglecting the rest of the kaleidoscopic collection of 19 models to which we can add that of Robin Rhode’s 2009: it does not consist of a real Art Car, but of a Z4 on a gigantic canvas, where the paint has been applied with tires of the roadster.

Poulain (who also co-founder of the Artcurial auction house) decided, in agreement with the then director of BMW Motorsport – Jochen Neerpasch – to have his 3.0 CSL painted by the American painter Alexander Calder. Then he showed up at the start of the 1975 24 Hours of Le Mans, without achieving any results on the track but the colorful car got an extraordinary resonance. Thus began the history of BMW Art Cars: no one car is the same as another, each artist has been left to choose the most suitable technique for the starting vehicle. After Calder, many great artists participated in the project including David Hockney, Jenny Holzer, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella and Andy Warhol. Furthermore, Frank Stella has created an unofficial car, at the behest of racing driver Peter Gregg.

March 4, 2021 (change March 4, 2021 | 13:57)


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