The Art World: BMW Art Cars
After further research of this week's Artists of the Week, Frank Stella, I came across this interesting bit of information. The BMW Art Car Project was introduced by the French racecar driver and auctioneer Hervé Poulain, who wanted to invite an artist to create a canvas on an automobile. It was in 1975, when Poulain commissioned American artist and friend Alexander Calder to paint the first BMW Art Car. This first example would be a BMW 3.0 CSL which Poulain himself would race in the 1975 Le Mans endurance race. Since Calder's work of art, many other renowned artists throughout the world have created BMW Art Cars, including David Hockney, Jenny Holzer, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, and Andy Warhol. To date, a total of 17 BMW Art Cars, based on both racing and regular production vehicles, have been created. The most recent artist to the join BMW Art Car program is Jeff Koons in 2010 with his M3 GT2, which competed in the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans but did not finish. Artists for the BMW Art Car Project are chosen by a panel of international judges. The cars featured above are the works of Frank Stella, Jeff Koons and David Hockney.
According to Thomas Girst, who has been in charge of the BMW Art Cars project since 2004, the purpose of the project has changed over time: "In the beginning the cars were raced. There wasn't much of a public relations effort around them... Since then, some of the Art Cars have been used in advertisements to show that BMW is a player in the arts.