This year the BMW Art Car program is celebrating 40 years of special exhibitions. Running in Shanghai, Miami, and New York, a selection of these artistic automobiles also appeared at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este on Lake Como in May.
Alexander Calder created the first BMW Art Car which was commissioned by art dealer and auto-enthusiast Hervé Poulain. Although the car only survived seven hours on the track, its introduction marked the beginning of a long series of BMW Art Cars.
Over the years, designs have varied greatly, including a model that required a massive freezer since icicles were part of the design. Pop artist Andy Warhol painted his BMW M1 masterpiece without a test-run and in less than 30 minutes. Regardless of aesthetic, the Art Car collection has become a staple among art lovers and grease monkeys alike. The current collection features 17 cars, including Jeff Koons’ 2010 M3 GT2 design featuring streams of color leading to an explosion. There’s speculation that a new Art Car is in the works to celebrate the 40-year-old exhibition.