Click above to view a high-res gallery of the Alan Aldridge MINI

The perpetual motion machine that is 1960s pop culture will once again reminisce about its faded relevance by rehashing something a Baby Boomer did back before they all became cokehead yuppies driving E30s. This time, the victim is an R56 MINI. Alan Aldridge, an artist and designer responsible for album art for some of the biggest names in the 1960s and 70s, in addition to illustrating children's books and serving as Art Director for Penguin Books, has whipped up a recreation of a project originally done in 1965 for a magazine cover. A MINI has been divided down the middle and painted with a male theme on one side and a female theme on the other. This retreading of past work is to kick off a retrospective display of Aldridge's work called The Man with Kaleidoscope Eyes, and MINI's 50th birthday conveniently arrives in 2009, as well. Overall, artwork that appeals to hippies isn't really our thing, but at least it's for a retrospective, rather than just a man running out of original ideas. Press release after the jump.

[Source: MINI]

MINI Aldridge Special makes public debut at Design Museum

A unique MINI featuring a visually stunning exterior designed by legendary artist, illustrator and graphic designer Alan Aldridge, is now on show at the Design Museum in London. The MINI Aldridge Special is an exhibit in a retrospective display of Alan's work, entitled 'The Man with Kaleidoscope Eyes'.

Alan Aldridge is known primarily for his creative work throughout the 1960s and 70s. Dubbed 'The Graphic Entertainer', Aldridge illustrated lyric books for the Beatles, album covers for The Rolling Stones, The Who and Elton John, was Art Director for Penguin Books and illustrated much-loved children's books such as 'The Butterfly Ball'.

Now working in Los Angeles, Alan Aldridge was keen to mark the opening of his exhibition by recreating an iconic cover of the Sunday Times Magazine, which in 1965 featured a classic Mini painted in his own, inimitable style. The updated interpretation of this image, using a new MINI One as the canvas for Alan's design, featured in the 12 October 2008 edition of the publication, again, warranting front cover status.

The MINI Aldridge Special is adorned with an array of images, shapes and patterns, each reflecting either a male or female theme, just as the 1965 car did. The design theme is split between each side of the car, the driver side being largely set on a blue background and masculine in appearance, with passenger near side artistry backed on pink.

MINI UK General Manager Andy Hearn said: "The work of Alan Aldridge is synonymous with some of the most important names in the history of British culture, so MINI is delighted to support this exhibition by offering Alan a car to work on.

"MINI will be celebrating its 50th birthday in 2009, so this is the perfect way to begin celebrating 50 years of the car in the UK."

'The Man with Kaleidoscope Eyes' exhibition runs until 25 January 2009. MINI fans and the British public will get another chance to see the MINI Aldridge Special in the metal at MINI United next year, the global MINI event which will be staged at a renowned British race circuit between 22-24 May 2009. Further details will be announced by MINI UK in the near future.

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