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17 of BMW's Amazing Art Cars

 The BMW Art Car project started in the mid-1970s and was instigated by Herve Poulain, a French race car driver, and auctioneer. The very first art car was painted by American artist, Alexander Calder, and there have been 17 of them in the ensuing 42 years to date. The idea has always been to use a contemporary BMW model as a blank canvas for an international artist to do what he or she pleases with. Artists are selected by an international judging panel. Take a look at these amazing art cars:
 
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1. 3.0 CSL Art Car by Alexander Calder (1975)
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The very first BMW Art Car actually competed at the 1975 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with Herve Poulain at the wheel. It heralded the start of a project that's ongoing to this very day. 
2. 3.0 CSL Art Car by Frank Stella (1976)
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Another BMW Art Car raced at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1976. It was painted by American artist, Frank Stella, and the design is supposed to resemble a blueprint. 

 

3. 320i Group 5 Art Car by Roy Lichetenstein (1977) 
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The third Art Car in the series is supposed to resemble roads, sunlight and the sky. 
4. M1 Art Car by Andy Warhol (1979)
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Leading pop art artist Andy Warhol is said to have painted this Art Car in just half an hour. He also painted numerous spare parts just in case the car was damaged during a race (which in fact it was). 
 
5. 635 CSi Art Car by Ernst Fuchs (1982)
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With flames appearing to emanate from the edges of every panel on this BMW Art Car, the artist that painted it referred to it as a "fire fox on a hare hunt". 
6. 635 CSi Art Car by Robert Rauschenberg (1986)
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Robert Rauschenberg's Art Car was the very first to incorporate the wheels into part of the overall design. The rest of the car is adorned with older works of art. 
7. M3 Group A Art Car by Michael Jagamara Nelson (1989)
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Indigenous Australian artist Michael Jagamara Nelson used the Papunya art form to paint his Art Car. 
8. M3 Group A Art Car by Ken Done (1989)
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Yet another Australian artist who was given the chance to paint an Art Car was Ken Done. It's supposed to represent his birthplace with all of its different kinds of beautiful scenery. 
9. 535i Art Car by Matazo Kayama (1990)
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The famous Japanese Nihonga painter, Matazo Kayama, used the theme of "Snow, Moon, and Flowers" for the Art Car he painted in 1990. 
 
10. 730i Art Car by Cesar Manrique (1990)
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Lanzarote-born artist, Cesar Manrique, spoke of his desire to create a sensation of speed through his work on his 1990 Art Car. 
11. Z1 Art Car by A.R. Penck (1991)
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A.R. Penck's world-famous "stick men" designs made it onto this Art Car back in 1991. 
12. 525i Art Car by Esther Mahlangu (1991)
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The first woman to be tasked with painting an Art Car was the South African, Esther Mahlangu, who is from the Ndebele people. Her design incorporates traditional Ndebele art with a modern twist.  
13. 3 Series Racing Art Car by Sandro Chio (1992)
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Italian artist, Sandro Chia, painted his Art Car with the intention of making it  "like a mirror" to "confront people who look at it". 
14. 850 CSi Art Car by David Hockney (1995)
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This Art Car, which was painted by British artist David Hockney, is a pop art take on what its innards would look like if you could see through the body panels. Note the driver's legs on the door and a small dog leaning against the back seat. 
15. V12 LMR Art Car by Jenny Holzer (1999)
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Neo-conceptual artist, Jenny Holzer, chose to adorn the Le Mans prototype she was selected to work on with an abstract message written in a special paint that absorbs sunlight during the day and desorbs it in traditional BMW blue at night. 
16. M3 GT2 Art Car by Jeff Koons (2010)
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Jeff Koons, the American contemporary artist whose work has sold for a world record sum for a living artist at least once, spoke of his desire for his Art Car to be a reflection of the amount of horsepower produced by its GT2 racing engine.  
17. M6 GT3 by Cao Fei (2017)
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This Art Car, by Chinese artist Cao Fei, features a non-reflective black design so that it could be easily integrated into the digital world. You can actually download an app to your smartphone so that you can see how it works. 
 
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