Unveiled: The BMW ART CAR No. 20

It has now been 8 years since BMW presented its last Art Car. Last Tuesday evening, the 20th BMW Art Car, designed by Julie Mehretu, was presented to the public at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. It is now on its way to Lake Como for the Concorso D’Eleganza before competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.

After the artworks of Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Frank Stella and Jeff Koons, this year it is the turn of artist Julie Mehretu from New York. Her canvas: the #20 BMW M Hybrid V8, which will compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans on 15/16 June.

Julie Mehretu is known for her artistic exploration of space, movement and energy. These themes are also reflected in her BMW Art Car. For the first time, Mehretu has transferred a two-dimensional image motif into a three-dimensional form and thus made it possible to experience dynamics in a new dimension. She drew her inspiration from her large-format painting “Everywhen” (2021-2023). This work is currently on display in an extensive retrospective at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice and will later become part of the permanent collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).

“I see the vehicle as a performative painting – it was created for the racetrack and not for the museum. (…)”

Julie Mehretu

The visual concept of this artwork is created by digitally altered photographs arranged in several layers. These layers consist of dot grids, neon-coloured veils and the typical black markings that characterise Mehretu’s work. “I imagined the BMW M Hybrid V8 driving through and merging with my finished painting in my studio,” Mehretu explained. “The result is a BMW Art Car that looks like a remix of my painting, as if the grille had absorbed the painting.”

Before Mehretu’s BMW Art Car travels to Le Mans, it makes a stopover at Lake Como. There it will be presented as the highlight of the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. Afterwards, the vehicle will be exhibited on the grounds of Villa Erba together with the BMW Art Cars by Alexander Calder (1975), Frank Stella (1976), Roy Lichtenstein (1977), Andy Warhol (1979), Jenny Holzer (1999) and Jeff Koons (2010), which also competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. We can’t wait to see this extraordinary series of artworks in Italy.

Photos: BMW Group