A Performative Painting Roars to Life in Julie Mehretu’s BMW Art Car

A Performative Painting Roars to Life in Julie Mehretu’s BMW Art Car

Published: June 8, 2024 | By: American Luxury Staff

Like a living painting streaking across the canvas of Le Mans, Julie Mehretu BMW Art Car turns imagination and engineering into a blurring spectacle of speed. Unveiled at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, this 20th entry in the Art Car series continues BMW’s long tradition of fusing avant-garde aesthetics with the thrill of motorsport.

Mehretu’s design draws inspiration from her painting “Everywhen,” its neon geometries and gestural markings mapping directly onto the vehicle’s sinuous form. The Art Car seems to emerge from the painting itself, its bodywork overlaid with grids, colors, and brushstrokes that drip dynamically across the racing prototype.

This is Mehretu’s first foray into three dimensions, her painterly style adapted to the curves and planes of the BMW M Hybrid V8. The Art Car tradition has long celebrated this marriage of art and technology, beginning with Alexander Calder’s kinetic creation for the 1975 Le Mans. From Lichtenstein to Warhol, Holzer to Koons, these rolling artworks push the boundaries of what an automobile can represent.

Now Mehretu’s Art Car channels that legacy of imagination and innovation. Her piece is a remix, a mashup, the painting invading the vehicle through 3D mapping and elaborate vinyls. The result is a performative painting, its colors and markings fluctuating with speed and recalling the fierce competition at Le Mans.

When the checkered flag waves on June 15th, Mehretu’s creation will have completed its transformation, the collaborative dreams of artist and engineers fulfilled. Until then, it serves as a striking emblem of BMW’s cultural commitment, which will continue beyond the race through workshops aimed at nurturing a new generation of African artists.

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