BMW is collaborating with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and an internationally renowned New York-based artist to create the 20th BMW Art Car.
Julie Mehretu was unanimously chosen by an international jury of museum directors and curators and will be given total creative freedom to design the next installment in BMW’s collection of “rolling sculptures.”
BMW will enter Mehretu’s BMW M Hybrid V8 Art Car in the 24-Hour race of Le Mans next June. This continues an almost 50-year tradition that appeals to motorsport enthusiasts, but also anyone into design or the arts, technology and mobility.
The BMW Art Car initiative came from French racing driver and art lover Hervé Poulain, who, in collaboration with then Head of BMW Motorsport Jochen Neerpasch, asked his artist friend Alexander Calder to paint an automobile. The result was a BMW 3.0 CSL that competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1975, where it became a crowd favorite.
Other artists who have created BMW Art Cars include Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Jenny Holzer, Jeff Koons, Cao Fei, and John Baldessari.
The BMW Art Cars are not only shown at their home, the BMW Museum in Munich, but also travel around the world as part of international exhibitions.
The collaboration between BMW and Mehretu also includes an outreach aspect. Mehretu and Mehret Mandefro, co-founder of the Realness Institute, which aims to strengthen the media ecosystem across Africa, will host a series of gatherings in eight African cities over the course of nine months to open up space for artists to meet.
These workshops create a forum for the artists to consider new pathways to implementing just civic futures in their respective local communities and harness the power of the translocal collective, according to the automaker.
The outcome and results of the workshops will be presented together with the 20th BMW Art Car at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in Cape Town in 2025.