The art of speed

The 20th BMW Art Car has been unveiled.

In a ceremony on 21 May 2024 at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, BMW presented the latest BMW Art Car in the longstanding collaborative series. Designed by renowned New York-based contemporary artist Julie Mehretu, the project transforms the BMW M Hybrid V8 race car into a performative work of art. Following its world premiere in the French capital, the new BMW Art Car will compete in the sports car race 24 Hours of Le Mans on 15-16 June 2024.


Renowned artists from all over the world have participated in the BMW Art Car programme since 1975, including South African Esther Mahlangu, Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, David Hockney, Jenny Holzer, Ólafur Elíasson and Jeff Koons. Each artist imbues a BMW car with their own individual style.


For the design of the 20th BMW Art Car, Mehretu transformed a two-dimensional image into a three-dimensional representation for the first time, bringing dynamism into form. Mehretu used the colour and form vocabulary of her monumental painting ‘Everywhen’ (2021 - 2023) as a starting point for her design.


Its abstract visual form results from digitally altered photographs which are superimposed in several layers of dot grids, neon-coloured veils and the black markings characteristic of Mehretu's work. ‘In the studio where I had the model of the BMW M Hybrid V8, I was just sitting in front of the painting and I thought: What would happen if this car seemed to go through that painting and become affected by it?,’ said Mehretu.


‘The idea was to make a remix, a mash-up of the painting. I kept seeing that painting kind of dripping into the car. Even the kidney grille of the car inhaled the painting.’


BMW's collaboration with Mehretu also features a series of Pan-African Translocal Media Workshops for filmmakers. Over the next two years, the workshops will tour Dakar, Marrakech, Kigali, Lagos, Addis Ababa, Cape Town, and Zanzibar and Tanzania. The results of the workshops will be presented with the 20th BMW Art Car at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in Cape Town in the first half of 2026.



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