BMW has been well ahead of most car companies, not only in engineering and design, but in recognizing the power of the arts. In the early days of the Internet, BMW led the way with BMW Films, a website that featured short films produced by accomplished directors like Ang Lee and Guy Ritchie.
BMW’s collaboration with great artists did not begin with BMWfilms.com. Forty years ago French racing driver and art enthusiast Hervé Poulain asked artist friend Alexander Calder to paint his BMW 3.0 CSL race car. Poulain approached BMW Motorsport Director Jochen Neerpasch and found a partner both willing and cultured. The first BMW Art Car was born. Since then, BMW Art Cars have arrived at irregular intervals, including unique works of art from Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, David Hockney, and most recently Jeff Koons.
To celebrate the fortieth anniversary of Poulain’s original effort, BMW has developed a traveling exhibition of the original BMW Art Cars by Alexander Calder, Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, which are joined by the Jeff Koons M3 GT2. The exhibition has already visited Hong Kong, Centre Pompidou, the BMW Museum and most recently at Concorso d’Eleganza at Lake Como. New York, Miami and Shanghai will round out the 2015 tour.
BMW hopes to engage via social media, with the hashtag #BMWArtCar. At the bottom of the post find photos and also a video featuring Poulain.
In 2014, Hatje Cantz issued the first comprehensive publication on the BMW Art Cars. The 200-page book is richly illustrated and reviews the history of this collection of cars. It uses portraits and interviews to shed more light on the various artists’ themes and approaches.
Watch the history of the BMW Art Car here,