The BMW Art Car Project was introduced by the French racecar driver and auctioneer Hervé Poulain, who wanted to invite an artist to create a canvas on an automobile. It was in 1975, when Poulain commissioned American artist and friend Alexander Calder to paint the first BMW Art Car. This first example would be a BMW 3.0 CSL which Poulain himself would race in the 1975 Le Mans endurance race. Since Calder's work of art, many other renowned artists throughout the world have created BMW Art Cars, including David Hockney, Jenny Holzer, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, and Andy Warhol. To date, a total of 17 BMW Art Cars, based on both racing and regular production vehicles, have been created. The most recent artist to the join BMW Art Car program is Jeff Koons in 2010 with his M3 GT2, which competed in the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans but did not finish. Artists for the BMW Art Car Project are chosen by a panel of international judges.
According to Thomas Girst, who has been in charge of the BMW Art Cars project since 2004, the purpose of the project has changed over time: "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 Eliason work, part of what we are doing is raising awareness of alternative and renewable energy sources."
BMW Art Cars 
* The 2009 project by Robin Rhode did not create an art car, but rather used a BMW Z4 driven over a giant canvas to create a work by applying paint with the car's tires.
Between 2003 and 2005, BMW released the first 15 Art Cars (at the time, this encompassed the entire series) as 1:18 scale miniature diecast vehicles, manufactured by Minichamps. The first two to be released were Alexander Calder's BMW 3.0 CSL and Jenny Holzer's BMW V12 LMR. The Art Cars were sold through BMW Automobile Dealerships, select Museum shops, as well as directly from BMW. Initially 3000 copies were to be produced with an MSRP of $125 (now $145) each.
Public display 
In 2009, the Art Cars began a North American tour, starting at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art from February 12–24. The second stop was in New York City from March 24 - April 6 at Grand Central Terminal - Vanderbilt Hall. The Cars were exhibited in México, first in MARCO, Monterrey, and later in Guadalajara and Mexico City. In July 2012 a selection of the cars will be presented by the Institute of Contemporary Arts in a Shoreditch car park as part of the London 2012 Festival, entitled Art Drive!.
- ^ "BMW Art Car retirement report". motorsport.com. Retrieved 13 June 2010.
- ^ Preece, R.J. (June 11, 2009). 'Communicating BMW Art Cars: Interview with Thomas Girst.' ADP/Sculpture magazine. Retrieved October 18, 2009
- ^ BMW V12 LMR - Jenny Holzer 1999 photo gallery, BMWDrives.com, 2007
- ^ "BMW Release Plans For 16th Art Car (press release)", Motor Trend
- ^ BMW Z4 art car - Robin Rhode 2009, BMWDrives.com, 2007
- ^ Peterson, Andrew (2 February 2010), "Artist Jeff Koons to Create A New BMW Art Car", Automobile (magazine), archived from the original on 6 February 2010, retrieved 2010-02-03
- ^ Migliore, Greg (2 June 2010), "New BMW Art Car, the 17th, revealed for Le Mans", Autoweek
- ^ 'BMW introduces scale models of art cars' Worldcarfans.com. Retrieved June 18, 2009.
- ^ Joseph, Noah. (February 12, 2009). 'BMW's Art Cars start North American tour in Los Angeles' Autoblog.com. Retrieved June 18, 2009.
- ^ 'La colección de automóviles artísticos BMW Art Cars llega a México (in spanish)' Retrieved June 5, 2009.
- ^ 'ART DRIVE! BMW ART CAR COLLECTION 1975–2010'
External links