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For its 17th Art Car BMW really went back to where it all started and entered an M3 GT2 at Le Mans complete with Jeff Koons’ arresting livery
The first three BMW Art Cars all cut their teeth at Le Mans and for the 17th Art Car BMW returned to the track in 2010 with the E92 M3 GT2. It had high hopes for the car as it arrived on the back of a win at the 2010 Nürburgring 24 Hour race and to ensure there was plenty of interest in BMW’s first return to La Sarthe BMW decided to commission Jeff Koons to add his quirky style to the car.
It was officially unveiled at the Pompidou Centre in Paris with a suitable level of razzmatazz and while the car might have been generating plenty of interest off the track it wasn’t quite so impressive on it. Two M3 GT2s were entered, one in the traditional BMW livery (number 78) and the Koons’ Art Car, number 79, its number chosen as a tribute to the Warhol M1 that had raced at Le Mans ‘79. At the qualifying event the two BMWs came sixth (78) and 11th (79) in class.
Jeff Koons, is one of the most celebrated artists of our time, and was born in York, Pennsylvania, in 1955. Koons’ work has been exhibited internationally and is in numerous public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Whitney Museum of American, the Guggenheim Museum (both in New York) and The National Gallery in Washington, DC.
As part of his creative process, the artist collected images of race cars, related graphics, vibrant colours, speed and explosions. The resulting artwork of bright colours conceived by Koons is evocative of power, motion and bursting energy. With its silver interior along with the powerful exterior design, the Art Car imparts a dynamic appearance even when it’s standing still. “These race cars are like life, they are powerful and there is a lot of energy,” said Koons. “You can participate with it, add to it and let yourself transcend with its energy. There is a lot of power under that hood and I want to let my ideas transcend with the car – it’s really to connect with that power.”
In the event the Art Car didn’t have a great race, making contact with another competitor and having several mechanical maladies. The final ignominy came as Andy Priaulx approached the Indianapolis curve at around the five hour mark when the M3 ran out of fuel – either the consumption was higher than expected or not enough fuel had been added at the previous pit stop. Either way, the car’s race was done. The number 78 car battled on to the end, eventually finishing sixth in class.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationV12 LMR / #Jenny-Holzer / #BMW-Art-Cars / #1999 / #BMW-V12-LMR / #BMW-S70/3 / #BMW-S70 / #BMW-V12 / #BMW-V12-LMR-Jenny-Holzer / #BMW-Art-Car / #Art-Cars / #Art-Car / #BMW / #BMW-V12-LMR-Art-Car /
After a break of four years since David Hockey’s 850CSi BMW returned to its roots with the 15th Art Car – it was going racing again! Art Cars The 15th machine in the series: Jenny Holzer’s V12 LMR.
As BMW’s Art Car project started with racing cars one could argue that over the ensuing years it’s used far too many road cars, and even when it did choose to adorn its racing cars they were never used in anger on track – witness the two E30 M3s and the E36 Touring Car that never went near a circuit. The first four cars all took part in the #Le-Mans 24-Hour and 1999 saw a return with Jenny Holzer’s V12 LMR.
The work of Jenny Holzer, who was born in Ohio, USA, in 1950, cannot be put into conventional categories. Since the late seventies, she has rejected traditional forms of expression such as representational painting, working with words instead of pictures. Messages in the form of LED lettering are arranged together with carved plaques, benches or sarcophaguses made of stone to make up complete installations. It is this interplay of language, objects and context as equal elements that render her work so unique and makes her one of the most consistently exhibited artists worldwide. The Art Car designed by the American concept artist was adorned with messages which she said, “Will probably never become void”. Bold statements in capitals such as ‘Protect me from what I want’ and ‘What urge will save us now that sex wont?’ were emblazoned on the car.
Her concept is based on traditional colours and materials used in motor racing. To allow the characteristic blue and white BMW colours to remain visible during the 24-hour race at Le Mans, she used reflecting chrome letters and phosphorescent colours. During the day the sky is reflected in the letters, during the night the foil is desorbing the saved daylight in blue. Except that the car never raced at Le Mans, although it was one of three V12 LMRs that was used for the preliminary qualification in May, for the actual race BMW elected to use the more traditionally liveried cars. It would have been disappointing had BMW left it at that, but fortunately the car did compete in its Holzer livery in a round of the American Le Mans Series in 2000 at Road Atlanta for the Petit Le Mans. Sadly by this time the LMRs were no longer competitive and had to play second fiddle to the Audis with the Holzer car coming in a distant fourth place.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
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After a series of road cars being the subject of BMW’s Art Car project the company went back to its roots with the 13th in the series with a prototype E36 Touring Car .
In 1992 BMW commissioned its 13th Art Car and after four road cars the company went back to its racing roots and utilised a Prototype E36 race car for the project. At this stage it looked like BMW wasn’t quite sure in which direction it was going with its E36 Coupé Touring Car as this one packed a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine that was good for 370hp – not a guise in which it actually raced…
This E36 was used as a mobile canvas by Italian artist Sandro Chia, and he is somewhat unique amongst the Art Car artists in that he approached #BMW rather than the other way round – such was the draw of the BMW Art-Car project by this stage. Chia was one of Italy’s most important contemporary painters yet he was keen to add an #BMW-Art-Car to his works: “The automobile is a much coveted object within our society,” said Chia commenting on his work. “It is the centre of attraction. People look at it. This car reflects those looks.” The design of the Art Car was not his first artistic involvement with an automobile – when he was a child he painted graffiti on cars!
The renaissance city of Florence, where Chia was born in 1946, is the world of his youth; a world in which he learned to take a playful and relaxed approach towards the fine arts. As early as in the 1970s he displayed his work at important individual exhibitions and was soon recognised as one of the most significant artists of the Italian Transavanguardia. He sees himself as a neo-expressionist, his figurative painting revealing signs of having been influenced by Carrà, de Chirico, Picasso as well as Montegna and Giorgione. When he came to start work on the car he had already had the design in his head for years and after only three days his work was done. Chia said that the racing car’s surface had called out to him to paint it and he was soon painting faces and a sea of intensive colours until the car’s whole bodywork had been completely covered. “I have created both a picture and a world. Everything that is looked at closely turns into a face. A face is a focus, a focus of life and the world,” he said.
Chia painted the whole car with bodyless and genderless faces. It’s the car that looks at the viewer… his goal was to create a car that was moving even when it was standing still – you could say the eyes are indeed looking at you. “You see the beauty of this car and you see yourself reflected in this beauty, you are part of it,” described Chia.
“You see the beauty of this car and you see yourself reflected in this beauty, you are part of it”
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- Post is under moderation19th ART CAR TO RACE AT DAYTONA / #BMW-M6-GTLM / #BMW-M6 / #BMW-M6-GTLM-Art-Car / #BMW-M6-Art-Car / #BMW-6-Series-Art-Car / #John-Baldessari / #BMW-M6-John-Baldessari / #BMW-M6 / #BMW / #BMW-M6-F13 / #BMW-F13 / #BMW-M6-GTLM-Art-Car-by-John-Baldessari-F13 / #BMW-M6-Art-Car-F13 / #2016 / #BMW-6-Series-F13
The 19th BMW-Art-Car by John Baldessari celebrated its world premiere at the Art Basel exhibition in Miami Beach at the tail end of 2016 where it was announced that it will take part in the Rolex 24 at Daytona at the end of January.
Ludwig Willisch, President and CEO, BMW of North America said: “It is an honour to add this new masterpiece by John Baldessari to the #BMW-Art-Cars Collection today. As one of the most important contemporary artists working today, John joins an incredible group, from Calder and Hockney to Warhol and Koons, that has contributed to this collection over the past 40 years. He has used his signature aesthetic combining colour, shapes and text to create a visually stunning work which will stand out at both the museum and on the race track in Daytona early next year.”
“I have done only one work in my life involving a car before, and that was an image of a car,” commented Baldessari. “So for the #BMW-Art-Car project I entered uncharted territory, not just in terms of the subject but also moving from two- to three-dimensional art. A challenge I did enjoy! The ideas all came at once: for instance, the red dot on the roof, so you can see it from above, FAST on one side, and a picture of the car on the other side. I like the ambiguity, having two-dimensions and threedimensions at the same time. Considering the car as an icon of contemporary life, my concept turned out playfully satirical but it also highlights some of the trademark ideas that I use. So you can say the #BMW-Art-Car is definitely a typical Baldessari and the fastest artwork I’ve ever created!”
Launching its 19th Art Car was a slightly odd move from #BMW as what it is calling its 18th #Art-Cars (which will be designed by Chinese multimedia artist Cao Fei) won’t actually be revealed until the summer of 2017.
As well as taking part in the Daytona 24-hour race Baldessari’s #Art-Cars , run by #BMW-Team-RLL , will be entered in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (IWSC). Bill Auberlen, Alexander Sims, Augusto Farfus and Bruno Spengler will share driving duties.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationBMW’s iconic #BMW-Art-Cars have been setting hearts a-flutter since #1975 but your chances of actually owning one are pretty much zero. There is, however, little stopping you from building your own… Words: Daniel Bevis /// Photos: Patrik Karlsson / #BMW-Art-Car /
Art Attack E9 and E21 resto-modded Art Car replicas
The BMW Art Car series is something that’s been capturing the imagination of motoring enthusiasts for generations. It all began in 1975, when French racing driver Hervé Poulain commissioned American artist and friend Alexander Calder to paint the 3.0 CSL that he was to drive at Le Mans. Using bold primary colours, Calder transformed the already eye-catching form of the #Group-5 E9 into something that looked like it was rapidly swishing through the scenery even when it was sitting still. It turned out to be one of the last art pieces Calder produced before his death, and in the mid-seventies it was actually a pretty astonishing move to present a car to the world as a work of art; it was, as you might imagine, even more astonishing that the flawless museum piece was then entered in the Le Mans 24hr.
The Calder Art Car sparked off a chain reaction that resonated through the decades. The following year, Frank Stella painted an E9 CSL; the year after that, Roy Lichtenstein had a go at a Group 5 E21, then it was Andy Warhol’s turn with an M1, with the snowballing project building momentum until it all came to a head with the recently unveiled John Baldessari M6 GTLM, the 18th official #Art-Cars Car .
Now, there have been quite a lot of other BMWs to be decorated by artists in unusual ways over the years, but these core 18 are the official ones, the bona fide commissioned #Art-Cars . They haven’t all been race cars (David Hockney’s, for example, was an 850CSi and Matazo Kayama’s was an E34 535i), but they have all been devastatingly beautiful and incomparably desirable.
To BMW’s endless credit, the collection isn’t kept safe and secure in a hermetically sealed and top-secret location – they get toured around the world from Goodwood to Pebble Beach and beyond, and the PR bods even took them on a sort of world tour in 2012 which included a brief but comprehensive exhibition in, er, a multistory car park in Shoreditch (which was very weird, but an utter joy to attend – BMW didn’t publicise it widely, so very few people turned up; those of us that did got to enjoy some rather special alone-time with these magnificent creations).
But just having a little look-see at the occasional show was never going to be enough for Swedish retro race enthusiast Jonas Nilsson. He had a dream, an all-consuming aspiration, to possess an Art Car of his very own. But obviously BMW would never sell him one, they’re far too valuable, so he was left with just one option: to build his own tribute to these iconic slices of history.
As you can see here, he got a bit carried away. He hasn’t built one Art Car, but two – and that’s just about pushing the very limits of awesomeness that our brains are able to cope with. So let’s try and piece it together in as logical a way as possible, without our minds dribbling out of our ears at the sheer magnificence of it all…
“BMWs have been special to me ever since I was a little boy, and our neighbour came driving home in his brand-new E21,” Jonas recalls. “I’ve always thought that they have very nice car models and very good performance.” Yep, no arguments here. And that early infatuation clearly planted a seed, as things have gone a bit nuts in the intervening few decades.
“The first #BMW I owned was an E36 318iS,” he continues. “It was white, with a subtle body kit – just right for a guy in his twenties.” It wasn’t, we must point out, all about the BMWs for Jonas though, as he’s also pretty keen on Opels. His first car was a Monza GSE, and over the years he’s built some fairly impressive modified examples including a twin-turbo Monza with nitrous and a ’caged, supercharged Kadett GSi on slicks. It’s this passion for brutal performance and race car thrills that ultimately informed what you’re seeing here, allied to that early passion for BMWs. It turned out to be the perfect recipe.
“It had always been my dream to build an Art Car, so when the opportunity to do it came up, I had to take it,” he says, matter-of-factly. “The Roy Lichtenstein E21 tribute was the first one I built, and when that was finished I felt ready to tackle another one, so I attempted the Frank Stella E9, which was the one I’d really wanted to build all along.” Blimey. He makes this deranged behaviour all sound so normal, doesn’t he? What’s arguably most impressive is that Jonas built up everything you see here himself, as you can’t just nip to Halfords and pick up a Group 5 body kit for an E21. “All the bodywork is made in steel and cannot be bought, so I made it all by myself to a plan I had in my mind,” he explains, like some kind of automotive voodoo shaman.
“To create these two Art Cars, I actually used four cars,” he goes on. “I took two cars and cut the body from the base, then I took one base and welded it together with the other body, and to make everything fit I had to adjust the length and trim the base car to make everything match up.”
Looking inside either one should give you a bit of a giveaway as to what resides beneath their respective skins; the E21 is all E36 inside, while the sharknose E9 has an E34 M5 hiding down there. It’s all utterly bonkers, and phenomenally impressive that he’s made it work.
“I found the E21 at a friend’s place,” says Jonas. “It was in okay condition, but the engine didn’t work.” And what better remedy for a misfiring first-gen 3 Series than to slice the body off, plonk it on to an E36 325i chassis, and bolt on some outrageous retro racer bodywork?
You’ll spot that the E36’s M50 engine is nestled beneath that colourful bonnet, while the 1990s underpinnings have allowed a little flexibility in upgrading things, which is why you’ll find some serious D2 coilovers in the mix along with 19” wheels. On the whole, though, the spec is relatively mild when you look at just how extreme the E9 ended up becoming.
“I found the E9 on a car sales website, almost in mint condition,” Jonas grins, plainly unconcerned about chopping the thing up. “Whereas the E21 took about a year to build, this one took more like 18 months as there was a lot more to do.” Part of the reason for this is that he opted to complement the forthright race car looks with some appropriate power in the form of an S38 engine from an E34 M5 (which is the donor car beneath, remember) to which he’s added a Rotrex C38-81 centrifugal supercharger. It’s an astonishingly quick machine, which is just what you would hope for when you look at its angry angles and pointy aero.
“Every detail and measurement of both cars were made from a model in 1:18 scale, including the wrapping,” Jonas explains, again shrugging off an incredibly complex engineering endeavour as if it’s all in a day’s work, and reducing us to shimmering pools of jealousy in the process. “The Art Car livery is vinyl-wrapped though if money were no object then of course I would have them painted on! And there’s not a part of either car that hasn’t been taken out and perfected before being put back in. I try to do as much as I can by myself, because I love a good challenge!” Well, yes, evidently. The work here really does speak for itself, and while Jonas’ bread-and-butter lies in the mill industry, he hopes one day to transition into building cars like this for a living; a passion that’s currently being fuelled by his new project, a race-inspired, street-legal 635CSi. If all goes well, he could one day be commissioning famous artists to adorn his creations with their colourful daubings… but for now, this pair of Art Car tributes is a fabulous showcase of his skills. BMW may take the official ones out and about, but they don’t tear around in anger like Jonas’ do. As dream two-car garages go, this one really is a work of art.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE BMW #Frank-Stella / #BMW-E9 / #Rotrex / #Rotrex-C38 / #BMW-E9-Frank-Stella / #BMW-E9-Art-Car / #BMW-E9-Art-Car-Replica /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.5-litre straight-six #S38B36 / #BMW-S38 / #S38 , #Rotrex-C38-81 centrifugal supercharger, chargecooler, race aluminium cooler with Evans waterless coolant, Nuke Blackline linear FPR, Nuke fuel rail, #Nuke-Blackline filter, #ECUMaster management, five-speed #Getrag-280 manual gearbox, Tilton racing clutch, modified cardan shaft, 40% locking diff, 2.87:1 final drive, 210 diff housing, forged CrMo driveshafts
CHASSIS 10x19” (front) and 13x19” (rear) HRE 508 wheels with 265/30 (front) and 345/35 (rear) Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres, E34 D2 coilovers, D2 Racing big brake kit with eight-pot calipers and 380mm discs (front) and six-pot calipers and 380mm discs (rear)
EXTERIOR Custom handmade all-steel Group 5 bodywork, Frank Stella Art Car tribute livery
INTERIOR E34 M5 dash, Cobra Misano Anniversary seats, custom-trimmed matching rear seats and doorcards
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #Roy-Lichtenstein / #BMW-E21 / #BMW-E21-Roy-Lichtenstein / #BMW-E21-Art-Car / #BMW-E21-Art-Car-Replica / #BMW-Art-Car-Replica / #Art-Car-Replica
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.5-litre straight-six #M50B25 / #BMW-M50 / #M50 , five-speed #Getrag manual gearbox
CHASSIS 9.5x19” (front) and 11x19” (rear) #Rennsport wheels with 265/30 Hankook Ventus S1 Evo (front) and 325/30 Dunlop Sport Maxx Race (rear) tyres, E36 D2 coilovers, #Powerflex bushes
EXTERIOR Custom handmade all-steel Group 5 bodywork, #Roy-Lichtenstein-Art-Car tribute livery
INTERIOR E36 interior blended with original E21Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationArt Cars The 12th machine in the series: Esther Mahlangu’s E34 525i.
/ #BMW-Art-Cars Esther Mahlangu #BMW-E34 / #BMW-525i / #BMW-525i-E34 / #Esther-Mahlangu / #BMW-525i-Esther-Mahlangu / #BMW-525i-Esther-Mahlangu-E34 / #BMW-525i-Art-Car / #BMW-525i-Art-Car-E34 / #BMW-E34-Art-Car / #BMW-Art-Car / #Art-Cars / #Esther-Mahlangu / #1992 / #BMW /
In 1991 the 12th Art Car was commissioned and featured two firsts: the first African artist and the first woman artist.
When it came to using the E34 525i as a canvas for its Art Car project BMW headed to the African continent and commissioned South African artist, Esther Mahlangu, to create something new and vibrant that hadn’t been seen before on its mobile art project.
Born in South Africa in 1936, Esther Mahlangu was taught the traditional painting technique of the Ndebele tribe by her mother. The stylistically distinctive and well-known wall paintings feature a typical Ndebele pattern and are created exclusively by women. Today Esther Mahlangu is considered the leading representative of this art form, having achieved international acknowledgement for her work. Through her art she upholds the traditions of her tribe and she started passing on her knowledge to her daughter many years ago. As the Ndebele culture does not use writing their art means a lot to them. And from time immemorial it was up to the women to design the walls of tribal homes according to their mood.
As you can see Mahlangu rose to the challenge of transferring her traditional art onto a modern carrier: the car. With this she combined two worlds. “Ndebele art has, in an entirely natural way, something slightly formal but very majestic about it; through my work I have added the idea of movement,” commented Mahlangu. “My art has evolved from our tribal tradition of decorating the home; for the Ndebele people, if you begin to paint a wall it means you are either announcing a wedding or a celebration.”
By painting the 525i she has passed on her tribe’s traditional means of expression to an object of contemporary technology. In order to develop a feel for the completely new medium, she initially painted the door of another BMW before beginning the design of the Art Car. Within one week she had transformed the car into a masterpiece of African Ndebele art.
According to Mahlangu: “I have been asked: ‘How did you paint? Did you use paper? Did you design the motive first?’. And I said: ‘No, the design is here in my head’. This car worked out nicely for me and I was so happy as so many people told me the car is so great, you did such a great job – they really went crazy about the car. The people are happy, all the people who see it are happy. When they see this car their hearts are simply filled with joy.”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
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BMW’s 11th #Art-Cars / #BMW-Art-Cars is unique for two reasons: it’s the only Roadster to be a canvas and is the only one painted by a German artist.
You could argue that neither the artist of this month’s Art Car, A R Penck, nor the car itself fit into a particular system, they’re both non-conformists. This is certainly demonstrated by the artist painting his secret language on the Z1 Roadster, which is mainly comprised of symbols, forms and archaic-looking shapes that call out to be decoded.
A R Penck was born as Ralf Winkler in Dresden in 1939. At the early age of 17, the self-taught artist had already held his first exhibition. In the years to follow, Penck devoted most of his time to studying the works of Picasso, Rembrandt and prehistoric cave paintings, the latter of which, in 1960/’61, was to result in the famous silhouetted ‘Matchstick Man’. The study of mathematics, cybernetics and physics increased his knowledge of pictorial language and Penck’s works soon became internationally acclaimed. They are now exhibited in museums throughout Europe, Japan and the USA.
To Penck, the BMW Z1 is already a “work of art”, worthy of the term #BMW-Art-Car , as it already reflects the creativity and imagination of its designers and engineers. “Art-on-art and art-on-technology… that interested me, especially art on a three-dimensional object,” he commented. Penck became inspired by technical design, and challenging it with his own cosmos and sign language. In its simplicity it’s reminiscent of prehistoric cave paintings but it is, nonetheless, a challenge to the observer, as the figures and signs resulting from a long process of abstraction are codes that have to be deciphered.
The Z1 was commissioned shortly after German reunification and as the first German artist he paints an Art Car with little reference to the car itself and with a lot of irony: “I have only been a passenger in a car for many years and I have only ever been a passenger in a BMW!” he said.
Penck’s work has always been provoking so it was perhaps only natural that his way to get himself in the mood to paint the Z1 raised a few eyebrows. He did this by playing the drums just before painting the car to feel the vibration and then he painted the car with thick black paint in around 15 minutes.
“Every artist is like a general who knows his battle order and has his soldiers on call to be used as needed. In the old days artists painted the sun but today everything is a bit more abstract,” said Penck. “The interesting thing about a work of art is not what it actually shows but first that it is shown and then how it is shown – you need to assume that you can think anything about it.” That’s one of the wonderful things about Penck’s Z1 – the car presents you with more riddles than answers and as for the hidden meanings, Penck leaves that to your own imagination…Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationFor the tenth BMW Art Car the company turned to a Spanish artist regarded as a pioneer of abstract art and a trailblazer of surrealism. #BMW-Art-Cars #Cesar-Manrique / #BMW-E32 / #BMW-730i / #BMW-730i-E32 / #BMW-730i-Art-Car / #BMW-730i-Art-Car-E32 / #BMW-7-Series / #BMW-7-Series-E32 / #BMW / #BMW-730i-Cesar-Manrique / #BMW-730i-Cesar-Manrique-E32
Art Cars The tenth machine in the series: César Manrique’s E32 730i.
By #1990 BMW had very much got into its stride with the Art Car project and this E32 730i, designed by southern European artist César Manrique, was the second machine to be revealed in this year. Manrique was the second European artist to be tasked with decorating one of BMW’s moving canvases and his use of bright colours and generously sweeping lines integrated into the car’s contours create the impression of effortless gliding and graceful movement.
Manrique is recognised as a universal talent – architect, sculptor, designer, object artist and painter all in one. Around 40 years were to pass before his paintings were shown publicly for the first time. He achieved his breakthrough at the Biennale in Venice in 1960. The pictures painted by the ardent ecologist and landscape designer dealt mainly with the linked themes of geology and vulcanism. In both bright and subdued colours he rendered light and lava and their visible interplay. The artist, who was born on Lanzarote in 1919, died in 1992 at the age of 72.
No matter whether he worked as a sculptor, a painter, or creating houses and gardens as an architect, Manrique was always inspired by his home country, Lanzarote. And it is this island that we find expressed on this art car.
Abstracted elements of lava beaches, the rainforest and the sea can all be seen here yet the work also reveals his innate understanding of cars.
From Manrique’s point of view, cars, being an essential part of our everyday lives, have an effect on our townscapes, thereby contributing decisively to the way the world around us looks.
When designing the 730i, Manrique’s major intention was to “unite in one single object the perception of speed and aerodynamics with the concept of aesthetics”. The end result is spectacular, the primary colours bringing an organic warmth to the otherwise cold steel. “When I wonder about the general senses of a car, my first thought is that it’s supposed to serve as quick transportation and when I think of speed I first think of a bird, a butterfly or a dragonfly. That’s why I wanted to design the BMW gliding through space without any resistance,” commented Manrique.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
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For its seventh Art Car BMW looked south, a long way south, and commissioned an Australian Aboriginal artist.
Towards the end of the 1980s BMW was expanding rapidly and becoming a more international company. It should have come as no surprise, then, that BMW would look further afield for the artists it would commission for its Art Car project. Thus, in 1989 it turned to a pair of Australian artists and gave them Group A E30 M3s to stamp their work on. The first of these was Aboriginal artist, Michael Jagamara Nelson. Born in Pikili, Australia, in 1949, he is a member of the Warlpiri tribe and grew up in the Aborigine tradition. He learnt the ancient painting techniques used by his ancestors from his grandfather and developed a new style based on them. Since the mid-Eighties Nelson has been considered the leading representative of the Papunya-Tula movement. His outstanding work includes a large mosaic which stands in front of the Australian parliament building in Canberra and an eight-metre-long painting in the foyer of the Sydney Opera House.
After seven days of hard and meticulous work, Nelson had transformed the black Group A M3 into a masterpiece of Papunya art. However, the geometric shapes only appear to be abstract. To the expert in Aboriginal art they reveal kangaroos or emus. “A car is a landscape as it would be seen from a plane – I have included water, the kangaroo and the opossum,” commented Nelson.
Papunya paintings embody religious myths (‘dreamings’) passed on for thousands of years by generations of Aborigines in the form of rock and cave paintings. They constitute their cultural roots and are a source of inspiration for the future. The Group A M3 that Nelson painted by hand had previously been one of BMW Australia’s race cars and in #1987 Tony Longhurst drove this car to victory in the Australian AMSCAR Championship. With a 2332cc engine it developed 300hp and had a top speed of 281km/h. It wasn’t raced after Michael Jagamara Nelson had turned it into an Aboriginal work of art.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
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Robert Rauschenberg: E24 635CSi. The sixth Art Car followed a successful formula, using a pop artist and a 6 Series.
For the sixth Art Car #BMW again opted to use another pop artist, Robert Rauschenberg, and, rather oddly, it decided to use the same car for a canvas as the fifth car: an E24 635CSi – although this time it was a later 1986 model with US-spec impact bumpers.
Rauschenberg was born in Texas in 1925 and was one of the artists who paved the way for American pop art. After studying art he started designing scenery and costumes for theatres. Later on he experimented with photographic designs, painted in the style of abstract expressionists. He finally discovered his own personal style in what’s known as ‘combine painting’ – a collage technique integrating real objects and photographs into the abstract painting.
Rauschenberg was first to use other artist’s works on his Art Car, which he processed by means of photographic techniques and projections onto the car.
For example, on the left we see Bronzino’s ‘Portrait of a Young Man’, and on the right a painting by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres. Rauschenberg’s own photographs of trees and swamp grass point to the environmental problems associated with the motor car. The ‘hub caps’ are formed using photographs of antique plates. The associations between the narrative elements are grouped along the surfaces, composing a virtual story for the observer to behold.
It was somewhat ironic that despite depicting some of the environmental issues created by the car in his artwork he was happy enough for a palm tree to be felled from in front of his studio in Florida in order to get the rolling canvas into the studio – which demonstrates just how keen he was to be involved with the Art Car project.
With his Art Car Rauschenberg stayed true to his ‘picture within a picture’ collage technique and was the first artist to work with foil rather than paint and lacquer to create his images. “I had to make sure that whatever I did beautified her,” he said. “I wanted to bring the whole world into it.” On the car Rauschenberg depicts three different worlds: that of art; that of nature; and that of the technical world in a sort of cultural kaleidoscope.
While the first four Art Cars were racing machines that took to the track in anger, Rauschenberg’s #BMW-6-Series was the only car to be driven on the road – by Rauschenberg himself. In an interview he commented: “There must have been around eight or nine accidents… people driving past and going ‘what was that?’ as they swivelled their necks to get a closer look. Once I saw that, I knew it was going to work.”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.