The BMW Art Car
Published February 12, 2021
World-renowned artists Jeff Koons, Roy Lichtenstein, Alexander Calder, and Cao Fei have something in common that may not be apparent to even an art history student or avid art world fan. It's the BMW, the prestigious German car manufacturer.
In 1975, French racecar driver Herve Poulain invited American artist Alexander Calder to paint a BMW. This was to be a first in a series of BMW Art Cars. It has since become the world's most consistent combination of automobiles and art, with the latest Art Car produced in 2017.
Thomas Girst, who has been in charge of BMW Art Cars since 2004, states "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. With the Eliasson work, part of what we are doing is raising awareness of alternative and renewable energy sources."
The BMW Art Cars gallery has 19 unique pieces made in collaboration with the world's finest in fine art.
cover: 1975 BMW Art Car by Alexander Calder
- Alexander Calder with one of his sculptures
- 1976 BMW Art Car by Frank Stella
- Frank Stella’s studio
- 1977 BMW Art Car by Roy Lichtenstein
- Roy Lichtenstein in his studio
- 1979 BMW Art Car by Andy Warhol
- Andy Warhol posing
- 1982 BMW Art Car by Ernst Fuchs
- Ernst Fuchs seen with one of his paintings of Fantastic Realism
- 1986 BMW Art Car by Robert Rauschenberg
- Rauschenberg in his studio
- 1989 BMW Art Car by Michael Jagamara Nelson
- Jagamara Nelson in front of one of his paintings
- 1989 BMW Art Car by Ken Done
- Ken Done in his studio
- 1990 BMW Art Car by Matazo Kayama
- Matazo Kayama painting
- 1990 BMW Art Car by Cesar Manrique
- Manrique at work on a painting
- 1991 BMW Art Car by A.R. Penck
- A.R. Penck in front of his painting
- 1991 BMW Art Car by Esther Mahlangu
- Mahlangu in front of her paintings
- 1992 BMW Art Car by Sandro Chia
- Chia in his studio
- 1995 BMW Art Car by David Hockney
- Iconic Hockney painting from 1967, 'A Bigger Splash'
- 1999 BMW Art Car by Jenny Holzer
- Iconic Holzer electronic panel installation, 'Protect Me from What I Want'
- 2007 BMW Art Car by Olafur Eliasson
- Sculpture by Olafur Eliasson
- 2010 BMW Art Car by Jeff Koons
- Jeff Koons in his studio
- 2016 BMW Art Car by John Baldessari
- Painting by John Baldessari
- 2017 BMW Art Car by Cao Fei