At 2019’s Coachella Festival, celebrities were spirited around in a fleet of gorgeous, custom BMW i8 models. The i8 is sleek and sexy in its own right, but these were even more special: they were created in collaboration with R&B superstar Khalid. The whimsical, adventurous, fresh i8s are the latest in a long history of BMW art cars.
In 1975, BMW invited artist Alexander Calder, best known for his abstract mobiles, to collaborate on the exterior design of a 3.0 CSL that was running the Le Mans 24. The car didn’t finish the grueling race, but it did start the tradition of BMW art cars.
The iconic brand went on to work with the likes of Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Frank Stella, Ernst Fuchs, Esther Mahlangu, Jenny Holzer, Jeff Koons, and Cao Fei. Giants in the art world, they helped create works of art that are moving on all levels! While scores of major artists approach BMW about the opportunity to create using a highly-engineered canvas, BMW tasks an independent jury of international museum directors to choose who receives the honor.
The brand’s cultural ambassador Thomas Girst says, “We do not consider ourselves sponsors, which would imply a mere transaction of budget from A to B. We consider ourselves partners; our long-term commitment is important. This is a true interaction! And do keep in mind, in pre-Socratic times you had one word for artistic achievements and those in engineering: (I)techné(I). We’ve just come full circle with the Art Car series.”
While Khalid was the first musical artist tapped by BMW for this prestigious partnership, his entry into the art car hall of fame stands with its peers as a fresh take on the interaction of art and engineering.
You can argue that every BMW is a work of art in itself! We couldn’t agree more.