In the atrium of New York’s Guggenheim Museum last night, BMW celebrated the 40th anniversary of its Art Car collection by announcing the next two creative masterminds who will partake in the project. Chinese artist Cao Fei, born in 1978, and American conceptual artist John Baldessari, born in 1931, will be the youngest and oldest artists respectively to collaborate on the series. Each will adorn a BMW M6 GT3 in the coming year, and once completed, the vehicular canvases will travel internationally to major exhibitions and museums.
The Art Car series was launched in 1975, when French racecar driver Hervé Poulain asked his friend Alexander Calder to design a BMW 3.0 CSL, which—painted in an eye-catching pattern of blue, white, vermilion and yellow—was on display at last night’s event. Cao and Baldessari will join an illustrious group of many other prior Art Car artists, including Jeff Koons, Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg and David Hockney.
“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,” says Cao of the opportunity.
This year’s artists were selected by a veritable who’s-who of the contemporary art world—a group comprising directors from the Guggenheim, Tate Modern, Serpentine Gallery, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (Beijing) and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among others.
“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,” says Baldessari of the project. “This will definitely be my fastest artwork yet.”