Thursday, September 13, 2007

BMW Art Cars

Automobiles as works of art.

Since 1975, prominent artists from throughout the world have designed BMW automobiles of their times, all making extremely different artistic statements. The fifteen exhibits created for the Art Car Collection until now include works by well-known artists such as Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, A.R. Penck, David Hockney, and Jenny Holzer. The Art Cars reflect the cultural and historical development of art, design, and technology.

It was originally the French racing driver Hervé Poulain who had the idea of letting an artist have his or her way with an automobile. Poulain commissioned American artist Alexander Calder to paint his BMW racing car in the early 70's; this was the spark which led BMW to establish the Art Car Collection.

In the first years of the project, primarily racing cars were transformed into art objects-some of these even started in the famous 24-hour Le Mans race. Later, the Art Car Collection was extended to include series vehicles. The latest work of this series has been created by American conceptual artist Jenny Holzer, who "described" a BMW V12 Le Mans racing car with her word-art, calling her artwork "Truisms".

The BMW Art Car Collection World Tour.
BMW Art Cars are greatly acknowledged by numerous museums and galleries throughout the world – by the Louvre in Paris, the Palazzo Grassi in Venice, the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, the Guggenheim Museums in New York and Bilbao – to name just a few. Apart from being displayed at their home base at the BMW Museum in Munich, BMW Art Cars will continue to be shown at future international exhibitions worldwide.

During 2006 they were sent on an extensive tour of Asia, which took them to Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Korea, Australia, India, Taiwan, China, Russia and Africa. Between 2007 and 2010 they will be exhibited at museums in Turkey and the USA before returning to Europe. Turkey, France, Spain and Portugal are currently planning joint collaborations with various museums.

The idea of a world tour is based on earlier exhibition concepts involving BMW Art Cars to provide a new conception of the automobile in modern and contemporary art. Depending on the priorities set by the museum curator responsible for each exhibition, the automobile was portrayed as an object to be perceived from various perspectives, conveying in an unsual way its symbolic power and utility value. International artists, including Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, Jenny Holzer, Wolfgang Tillmans, Sylvie Fleury and Erwin Wurm, also presented subject-related sculptures and installations, pictures, photographs and videos.

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