BMW Introduces 2 New Art Car Artists at Guggenheim

‘Fastest Artwork Yet’ to be Unveiled in 2017 using BMW M6 GT3s as Canvas

By Jonathan Spira on 19 November 2015
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In the presence of the first BMW Art Car, painted by Alexander Calder, and French racecar driver Hervé Poulain, who first thought of the idea of inviting an artist to use an automobile as a canvas, BMW made public the names of the two artists who will be creating the 18th and 19th BMW Art Cars, at an event in the rotunda of the Guggenheim Museum in New York City on Wednesday.

The two artists, selected by a jury of museum directors and curators, are Chinese artist Cao Fei and American artist John Baldessari. Fei will be the youngest artist to paint a BMW Art Car, while Baldessari will be the oldest. Both will use BMW M6 GT3s as their canvases and the vehicles, which will eventually be raced, will be unveiled in 2017.

Poulain first commissioned Calder to paint a BMW 3.0 CSL in 1975, which he then raced in the 1975 Le Mans 24 hour endurance race. To date, 17 BMW Art Cars, based on both standard production models and race cars, have been produced by a roster of artists that includes David Hockney, Jenny Holzer, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, and Andy Warhol.

Models of all 17 BMW Art Cars were on display at the Guggenheim

Models of all 17 BMW Art Cars were on display at the Guggenheim

“Cao Fei is one of the most promising and boldest Chinese artists of her generation,” the jury, which included representatives from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Tate Modern, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, and Whitney Museum of American Art, said in a statement. Referring to him as a “serial inventor, the jury said that John Baldessari “keeps surprising us and we are excited to see the unexpected in what he will come up with for the 19th BMW Art Cars.”

Fei said in a written statement that she saw the concept of the Art Cars as being “deeply connected to the entangled contemporary relationships between velocity, energy, and the country.” Baldessari noted that “This will definitely be my fastest artwork yet.”

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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