German Car Companies Continue Love Affair with NYC Art Museums: Volkswagen Partners with MoMA

Meet the Beetle: A 1959 Volkswagen Type 1 Sedan from the architecture and design collection of the Museum of Modern Art, which today announced a partnership with the German car maker.

Not to be outdone by BMW’s globe-trotting collaboration with the Guggenheim, Volkswagen has zoomed into an unprecedented partnership with New York’s Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1. The two-year initiative, announced today, includes the motor vehicle manufacturing giant’s support of an international contemporary art exhibition at PS1 in 2013, the expansion of MoMA’s online course offerings beginning next March (here’s hoping that Russell Flinchum‘s fascinating course on the history of car design will be among the virtual learning options), an on-site “Lab Project” also slated to debut next spring, and sponsorship of a series of installations in MoMA’s Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden. Meanwhile, Volkswagen is sponsoring “Francis Alÿs: A Story of Deception,” on view through September 12 at PS1, as well as the donation of two works by Alÿs to MoMA’s collection.

“This partnership expresses our corporate commitment to take responsibility for the environment and for society,” said Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn in a statement issued today by the museum. The 2013 exhibition, which will fill the entire gallery space of PS1, will highlight “artists who are reacting to the pressing questions of the 21st century with its interrelated ecological, economical, spiritual, ethnographic, political, and social challenges,” according to MoMA. Research for the show will set Klaus Biesenbach off on a global expedition—in a vintage VW bus stripped of all luxuries, we like to imagine—to scout artists working in multiple mediums throughout the world. (This has all the makings of a highly entertaining Where in the World Is Klaus Biesenbach? web series!) Meanwhile, can an Opel partnership with the Museum of Arts and Design be far off?