The BMW Art Car Project was started when racecar driver Hervé Poulain wanted to invite an artist to create a canvas on an automobile.
In 1975, Poulain invited Alexander Calder to paint his own BMW 3.0 CSL Racecar, which he then went on to race this very 3.0 CSL in the 1975 Le Mans.
Since then, some 17 BMW Art Cars have been created. Every car is done by a different artist and has a different purpose and motivation. The Art Cars range from purpose-built racecars to standard, off-the-mill production cars.
Each artist for the BMW Art Car Project is hand-picked by a panel of international judges.
Alexander Calder – 1975 BMW 3.0 CSL
“When everything is perfect, there is no fulfilment.”
Frank Stella – 1976 BMW 3.0 CSL
“My design is like a blueprint transferred onto the bodywork.”
Roy Lichtenstein – 1977 BMW 320i
“I pondered on it for a long time and put as much into it as I possibly could.”
Andy Warhol – 1979 BMW M1
“I love that car. It has turned out better than the artwork.”
Sandro Chia – 1992 BMW 3-Series Touring Racer
“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.”
David Hockney – 1995 BMW 850 CSi
“The car has wonderful lines which I followed.”
Jenny Holzer – 1999 BMW V12 LMR
PROTECT ME FROM WHAT I WANT THE UNATTAINABLE IS INVARIABLY ATTRACTIVE YOU ARE SO COMPLEX YOU DON’T RESPOND TO DANGER LACK OF CHARISMA CAN BE FATAL MONOMANIA IS A PREREQUISITE OF SUCCESS WHAT URGE WILL SAVE US NOW THAT SEX WON’T?
Jeff Koons – 2010 BMW M3 GT2
“These race cars are like life, they are powerful and there is a lot of energy. 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.”