Wednesday, 25 July 2012

BMW Art Cars - London 2012

You may well be familiar with BMW's Art Car collection. But if not, the history in a nutshell is this: in 1975, French racing driver and auctioneer Hervé Poulain commissioned Alexander Calder to paint the BMW 3.0 CSL that he was to drive at Le Mans. Since then, a further sixteen Art Cars have been commissioned by BMW (not to be confused with a plethora of artistically adorned Bee-Ems - to be an official Art Car, it has to have been instigated by BMW themselves), with the likes of Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, David Hockney, Frank Stella, Ernst Fuchs, Ken Done and Roy Lichtenstein contributing to the project. Some are standard production cars, most are race cars - and the latter have all seen action at Le Mans.
As part of the London 2012 Festival, BMW have agreed to ship the collection over to the UK. Their venue? The NCP car park on Great Eastern Street, Shoreditch...
I know, it's a weird venue, but it's actually perfect for the exhibition - the cars are spread broadly throughout the car park with just two or three of them on each level. Despite the bustling location, there's a hushed, reverential tone and, with a surprising paucity of visitors, you can pore over the cars at leisure without distraction.

This was a very special day for SuckSqueezeBangBlow. The ubiquity of Art Car images online, in books and magazines elevates them to a kind of hero status - indeed, I used to have a picture of the Lichtenstein Group 5 320 on my wall as a child - so it's genuinely surreal to be so close to all of them. One Art Car would be unusual. An entire collection is somewhat overwhelming...
If you get a chance to visit, I urge you to do so - the display will be on until August 4th. Click here for further details.


Erwin Calverley said...

I will never forget this car show! It’s just one of the best and most unique car shows EVER! My friends and I really waited for this moment and flew off to London just to see this. I can say that witnessing these regal beauties together is indeed worth all the time, effort, and money!

- Erwin

Madeline Joyce said...

Luckily, I was there! It was the last day of the exhibit when my brother invited me to this car show. I think we stayed there for about five good hours; you can clearly see how much of a car and art addicts we are! :D

- Madeline Joyce