BMW’s 20th Art Car By NY Artist Julie Mehretu Unveiled At Centre Pompidou

The 20th installment in the BMW Art Car series made its debut at the Centre Pompidou in Paris last May 21st, transforming the BMW M Hybrid V8 into a performative painting. Continuing BMW’s longstanding tradition of blending competitive racing with contemporary art, this new addition isn’t just for show. It’s set to compete in the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans, bringing Mehretu’s art to the racetrack.

The BMW Art Car project had its start in 1975, and was initiated by French racing driver and art enthusiast Hervé Poulain. Over the decades, it has featured contributions from art luminaries like Alexander Calder, Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein, and Andy Warhol, with each artist bringing their unique perspective and using BMW’s car as a canvas.

Julie Mehretu, known for her abstract works, is the latest artist on the list. Her design for the BMW M Hybrid V8 draws inspiration from her painting ‘Everywhen’ (2021-2023), currently on display at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice. Julie Mehretu’s BMW Art Car integrates layers of digitally altered photographs, dot grids, neon veils, and her signature black markings, all achieved through the use of comprehensive 3D mapping techniques. The end result is a BMW M Hybrid V8 covered in a dynamic, vivid pattern bearing Mehretu’s unique aesthetic.

The BMW M Hybrid V8 used for this Art Car project isn’t just for display. Depending on the racetrack layout, it can reach a top speed of up to 345 km/h. It also has a hybrid electric drivetrain system that produces 640 hp from a 4.0-litre V8 engine supported by an electric motor.

It joins the Hypercars category of the FIA World Endurance Championship and will also make its debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The BMW Art Car will be the first BMW M Motorsport prototype to compete in the iconic race since BMW’s V12 LMR’s win in 1999, with Drivers Sheldon van der Linde, Robin Frijns, and René Rast driving the Art Car.

Following its presentation at the Centre Pompidou and its participation in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Mehretu’s BMW Art Car will be showcased at the Concorso d’Eleganza at Villa d’Este in Lake Como.

For more information, please visit the official BMW website.

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