Julie Mehretu & BMW Release First Design Studies for the 20th BMW Art Car

The art car will race as No. 20 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June…

BMW and Julie Mehretu announce the first design studies for the 20th BMW Art Car. For this project, the artist combines her work with a personal enthusiasm for automotive design and speed.

Mehretu translates dynamism into form and applies her motifs from a two-dimensional picture onto a three-dimensional industrially designed object, according to the artist. In this case, the BMW M Hybrid V-8 racing car prototype will be the canvas of Mehretu’s multilayered art and the next addition to the legendary BMW Art Car Collection.

BMW Art Car

The very first BMW Art Car, designed by Alexander Calder in 1975, made its dynamic debut at the Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans, Roy Lichtenstein’s (1977) and Jeff Koons’ (2010) “rolling sculptures” followed the same reveal process.

The 20th BMW Art Car will also celebrate its world premiere at the Centre Pompidou in Paris on May 21, before competing a few weeks later in the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 15-16.

The artist will also design the racing suits for the 24 Hours of Le Mans team.

“It wasn’t until after going to the 24 Hours race in Daytona last year that the idea of how to approach the BMW Art Car crystallized. I was thinking about Frank Stella’s grid and how this could also be a shout-out to former BMW Art Car artists,” said Mehretu.

For the first time, Mehretu is working with BMW in a three-dimensional format. The interplay of the surfaces and geometry of the vehicle design creates a remix of elements of her painting and opens new perspectives for the artist.

“I kept thinking of this painting in my studio that I had just finished, and the model of the art car was in my studio and I thought maybe we can try to have the car move through this painting,” she said.

Mehretu was given unrestricted creative freedom in the realization of her ideas for the latest vehicle of this globally unique collection. Following the race at Le Mans, the 20th BMW Art Car will become an exhibit that will be presented to the public in museums and on art platforms worldwide.

To learn more about the 20th BMW Art Car, click here.

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