World Debut: BMW Art Car by John Baldessari

John Baldessari BMW M6 GTLM Art Car #19.
John Baldessari BMW M6 GTLM Art Car #19.

Official Release: On November 30, the VIP Preview day of this year’s edition of Art Basel in Miami Beach, the BMW Art Car by John Baldessari celebrated its world premiere. The 19th vehicle of the BMW Art Car Collection was designed by the American master of conceptual art and revealed in the presence of the artist himself, Ludwig Willisch, President and CEO, BMW of North America, and Jens Marquardt, Director BMW Motorsport, at an exclusive reception at the Botanical Garden of Miami Beach. John Baldessari’s BMW M6 GTLM, a race car featuring 585 hp, will be on public display until the closing of Art Basel. Following the 40-year tradition of BMW Art Cars, John Baldessari’s “rolling sculpture” will then prove itself on the race track of Rolex 24 at DAYTONA on January 28 and 29, 2017.

John Baldessari BMW M6 GTLM Art Car #19.

John Baldessari BMW M6 GTLM Art Car #19.

Ludwig Willisch, President and CEO, BMW of North America: “It is an honor to add this new masterpiece by John Baldessari to the BMW Art Car Collection today. As one of the most important contemporary artists working today, John joins an incredible group from Calder and Hockney to Warhol and Koons that has contributed to this collection over the past 40 years. He has used his signature aesthetic combining color, shapes and text to create a visually stunning work which will stand out at both the museum and on the racetrack in Daytona early next year.”

BMW Art Car #19 by John Baldessari “I have done only one work in my life involving a car before, and that was an image of a car. So for the BMW Art Car project, I entered uncharted territory, not just in terms of the subject, but also moving from two- to three-dimensional art. A challenge I did enjoy! The ideas all came at once: for instance, the red dot on the roof, so you can see it from above, FAST on one side and a picture of the car on the other side. I like the ambiguity, having two-dimension and three-dimension at the same time. Considering the car as an icon of contemporary life, my concept turned out playfully satirical, but it also highlights some of the trademark ideas that I use. So you can say, the BMW Art Car is definitely a typical Baldessari and the fastest artwork I ever created!” – John Baldessari

Painting of John Baldessari Art Car.

Painting of John Baldessari Art Car.

For the 19th BMW Art Car, John Baldessari as the legend of an entire LA art scene drew on his famous artistic trademarks. Designing the car, this American artist turned to well-known stylistic devices and created an iconic work which unites his creative practices of the past 50 years in a unique manner. As a committed minimalist, he worked with the colours red, yellow, blue and green and with his monochrome dots, he left his familiar colourful marks on the M6 GTLM as well. Baldessari’s ironic play on the multi-dimensionality of the race car as an art object is most obvious in the graphic reflection of the car in profile. And with “FAST” as a central typographic element the artist boldly transports the power of the BMW Art Car to its outside and makes it visually accessible for the viewers both at the race track and the museum.

John Baldessari spearheaded and oversaw the design of the 19th BMW Art Car, which was executed with the help of a team of BMW engineers in early November at the BMW Body & Paint Training Center West in Oxnard, California.

The BMW M6 GTLM on the race track In January 2016, the BMW M6 GTLM made its debut on the Daytona International Speedway. It passed its first test with flying colours and was ranked fifth. The 19th BMW Art Car will be put to the test at this very same site and compete at the legendary 24 Hours of Daytona from January 28 to 29, 2017. Run by BMW Team RLL, the car will be entered in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (IWSC). Since 2009, the BMW Team RLL together with BMW Motorsport North America has won five titles and twelve victories. And the first season of the BMW M6 GTLM also was successful with a total of three podium finishes in Sebring, Watkins Glen and Road America. This track record is to be continued in 2017. Bill Auberlen (US), Alexander Sims (GB), Augusto Farfus (BR) and Bruno Spengler (CA) will take turns in driving the BMW Art Car.

John Baldessari BMW M6 GTLM Art Car #19.

John Baldessari BMW M6 GTLM Art Car #19.

Jens Marquardt, BMW Motorsport Director, said, “It will be a great honour for us to present the 19th BMW Art Car on the race track – and especially to bring it to an event steeped in tradition such as the 24 Hours of Daytona. The design of this BMW M6 GTLM is absolutely unique. We will give our very best to ensure that this rolling work of art will not only provide a visual highlight but also be successful on the track.”

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