BMW Art Cars Hit the Road: First Stop, LACMA

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Head designer Chris Bangle may have left BMW, but the company’s famed Art Cars live on, and they’re hitting the road for a world tour. BMWs customized by Andy Warhol, Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein, and Robert Rauschenberg will be on view together for the first time in a traveling exhibition that debuts stateside on Thursday at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) before heading to New York City’s Grand Central Terminal in March.

BMW car.jpgThe exhibition will include never-before-seen footage of the four cars, including a young Warhol constructing his car, Stella (whose car is pictured at right) and Rauschenberg discussing their automotive inspirations and influences, and experts such as Hervé Poulain, the race car driver and initiator of the Art Car Project, discussing the impact of these works. A total of 16 Art Cars have been created since Poulain first commissioned Alexander Calder to paint his BMW racing car in 1975. Among the most recent contributing artists are David Hockney (1995), Jenny Holzer (1999), and Olafur Eliasson (2007). New artists are chosen by a panel of international judges, and BMW is now in discussions for the development of the seventeenth art car. We nominate James Nares, whose zooming brushstroke paintings (along with a new video installation) are on view at Paul Kasmin Gallery through February 21.