BMW selects two artists to create M6 GT3 art cars

  • The Alexander Calder BMW Art Car at a news conference in New York where BMW announced it's return to the Le Mans 24 hour race on Tuesday, April 6, 2010. The next BMW Art Car artist Jeff Koons design concept for the 17th BMW Art Car in background. (Jim Sulley/newscast) (04/2010)
Whether it's Alexander Calder's 3.0 CSL or Jeff Koons' M3 GT2, BMW has had a role in some of the most beautiful art cars to ever see a racetrack since 1975. For the 40th anniversary of the series, the company will celebrate in the best way possible – making even more of them. Chinese artist Cao Fei and John Baldessari from the US will create two more artistic racers around the new M6 GT3, and after hitting the track, they'll go on display in museums in 2017.

An international jury of museum directors and curators selected Cao and Baldessari to create the 18th and 19th art cars, respectively. Born in 1978, Cao is the youngest artist to create one with BMW. She seems to hint at the inspiration for her example in the company's announcement by saying: "Acceleration, a concept that reminds me of my desire for speed as a runner during the Young Pioneers days, is deeply connected to the entangled contemporary relationships between velocity, energy, and the country."

Born in 1931, Baldessari will be the oldest person to produce a BMW art car. "This will definitely be my fastest artwork yet," he said in the release.

BMW doesn't know yet exactly where either art car would race. "There is a possibility of one or both the [sic] compete in one of the major IMSA WeatherTech series races. However, this has not been decided yet," company spokesperson Thomas Plucinsky told Autoblog. "We expect to see the cars on track in 2017." Both artists have designs in the works but nothing to release yet. However, the gallery above shows some of the earlier creations.

The M6 GT3 is BMW's latest racing weapon for customer teams, and it uses a modified 4.4-liter turbocharged V8 with up to 585 horsepower and a six-speed sequential gearbox. It will compete in places like the GTD class of the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportCar Championship in the US.
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Cao Fei and John Baldessari to create the next BMW Art Cars

Racing tradition to be continued with the BMW M6 GT3

Munich/New York.
Following commissions by Jenny Holzer (1999), Olafur Elíasson (2007) and Jeff Koons (2010), the BMW Art Car series will now be continued. On the occasion of the series' 40th anniversary, a jury of distinguished museum directors and curators chose two internationally renowned artists to design one car each. Chinese artist Cao Fei (*1978) and American artist John Baldessari (*1931) will be the youngest and the oldest artist represented in the collection respectively. On November 19 and in the presence of the artists, Ian Robertson, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, announced the collaboration at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York in front of 150 select guests. Both artists will create a BMW M6 GT3 in the coming year. The newly-designed vehicles will then be presented in museums in 2017, while also having to prove themselves on the racetrack. "On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the BMW Art Car Collection, it is time to look ahead. The collection is the embodiment of the cultural commitment of the BMW Group – its vehicles stand for the combination of cutting-edge technology and inspiring art. We are very proud to expand the series with two works by such renowned artists," said Ian Robertson during the presentation.

Artists' comments

"I'm thrilled to be able to join the magnificent list of BMW Art Car artists. Acceleration, a concept that reminds me of my desire for speed as a runner during the Young Pioneers days, is deeply connected to the entangled contemporary relationships between velocity, energy, and the country."
Cao Fei

"I was honored to have many of my respected peers recommend me as a BMW Art Car artist. Creating art that exists outside of a museum is important to me, and should be a goal for all artists. This will definitely be my fastest artwork yet."
John Baldessari

With their commitment Cao Fei and John Baldessari will be joining the ranks of renowned artists such as Alexander Calder, Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg and David Hockney.

The jury

The experts who conducted the judging were Richard Armstrong, Director, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York), Chris Dercon, Director, Tate Modern (London), Juan Gaitán, Director, Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo (Mexico City), Gabriele Horn, Director, KW Institute of Contemporary Art (Berlin), Udo Kittelmann, Director, Nationalgalerie Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Dr. Matthias Mühling, Director, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus (Munich), Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director, Serpentine Gallery (London), Shwetal A. Patel, Kochi-Muziris Biennale (India), Beatrix Ruf, Director, Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), Bisi Silva, Director, The Centre for Contemporary Art (Lagos), Philip Tinari, Director, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (Bejing) and Adam D. Weinberg, Director, Whitney Museum of American Art (New York).

Regarding the nominations, the jury has said of their choice:
"We are convinced that both nominated artists can add – in their distinctive approaches – unique and new facets to the existing collection of the BMW Art Cars. Cao Fei is one of the most promising and boldest Chinese artists of her generation. For her work on the 18th BMW Art Car, we are in particular looking forward as to how she may turn the car into an imaginative part of her parallel universe. John Baldessari is a great pioneer and godfather of an entire art scene in LA and beyond. As a "serial" inventor, he keeps surprising us and we are excited to see the unexpected in what he will come up with for the 19th BMW Art Car."

The BMW M6 GT3

In 2016, the BMW M6 GT3 will spearhead the range of cars available to the BMW customer racing programme. It is powered by a 4.4-litre V8 engine with M TwinPower Turbo technology, which has been modified slightly for use in motor racing. The powertrain has dry sump lubrication and generates up to 585 hp – with the whole car weighing less than 1,300 kilograms. Further technical characteristics are the transaxle drive concept, six- speed sequential racing transmission, and high-performance motorsport electronics. The aerodynamic properties of the chassis have been optimised in the BMW wind tunnel. The engineers worked meticulously to fine-tune the BMW M6 Coupé, which formed the basis for the new car and was already perfectly suited to outings on the racetrack.

Jens Marquardt, BMW Motorsport Director: "It is fantastic that the tradition of the BMW Art Car series will be continued with the BMW M6 GT3. Motorsport and the BMW Art Cars have always been very closely linked. Our racing cars in the special designs of well-known artists have cult status among the general public. I am convinced that the same will be true of the works by Cao Fei and John Baldessari. Naturally we want to fight for wins with the BMW M6 GT3 Art Cars. This combination of art and performance on the race track really is unique."

The BMW Art Car Collection

Since 1975 artists from the world over have been creating Art Cars on the basis of contemporary BMW automobiles. The collection was inaugurated when French race car driver and art aficionado Hervé Poulain in collaboration with the then BMW Motorsport Director Jochen Neerpasch asked his artist friend Alexander Calder to design a car. The result was a BMW 3.0 CSL, which in 1975 was raced at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and became an instant favourite with the spectators: the BMW Art Car Collection was born. In 2010, the most recent addition to the series, a car designed by Jeff Koons, was introduced at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. BMW Art Cars are not only on display in their home town at BMW's museum in Munich, they also travel internationally to exhibitions and museums in Asia, Europe and North America. 2014 saw the first comprehensive publication on the collection. For further information, please go to

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