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Ultimate Collector’s Garage Is Now for Everyone: BMW Art Cars Go Fully Digital

Does art become less valuable if fewer people have access to it? We don’t know the answer to that, but whatever it is, it does not apply to the existing 19 BMW Art Cars, all of which will soon be available to anyone in the world, wherever they might be.
All 19 BMW Art Cars will go digital in AR, to democratize art 6 photos
Photo: BMW Group
All 19 BMW Art Cars will go digital in AR, to democratize artAll 19 BMW Art Cars will go digital in AR, to democratize artAll 19 BMW Art Cars will go digital in AR, to democratize artAll 19 BMW Art Cars will go digital in AR, to democratize artAll 19 BMW Art Cars will go digital in AR, to democratize art
On July 19, the BMW Group announced that, to mark their 50th year of cultural engagement, all BMW Art Cars would become digital: digital rolling sculptures. This is possible thanks to a partnership with London-based studio Acute Art, through the Acute Art free app and, for the time being, includes only 10 of the 19 existing BMW Art Cars. The others will be integrated at a rate of one every two weeks, until all are featured.

BMW Art Cars go back to 1975, when race driver Hervé Poulain and BMW Motorsport founder Jochen Neerpasch approached Alexander Calder for a new design to Poulain’s BMW 3.0 CSL, which he would then race at Le Mans. Like every other prestigious marque, along the years, BMW has continued the tradition, with 18 other artists ending up using BMW vehicles as their canvas.

Now, these art cars have been given the digital treatment: using a photogrammetry methodology, they were scannned from all angles to capture every detail of the art on them, and were then reassembled digitally. Acute Art is versatile in converting artistic expressions into a variety of mediums, such as VR (virtual reality), AR (augmented reality) and MR (mixed realities), but AR was preferred for this project.

AR is, according to a press release, the future of art and automotive artistic expression, and the only way in which democratizing either is possible. The idea is to have art pieces reach as wide an audience as possible, with the least effort on the audience part, and with no considerations to or restrictions regarding time and space for the viewing.

The vehicles now available in the Acute Art app are Alexander Calder’s BMW 3.0 CSL, 1975, Michael Jagamara Nelson’s BMW M3, 1989, Ken Done’s BMW M3, 1989, Matazo Kayama’s BMW 535i, 1990, Esther Mahlangu’s BMW 525i, 1991, Jeff Koons’ BMW M3 GT2, 2010, and John Baldessari’s BMW M6 GTLM, 2016.

On a related note, on September 21, 2021, at Art Basel in Basel, Switzerland, BMW Group will bring Calder’s Art Car in both digital format and physically for a one-off display.
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About the author: Elena Gorgan
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Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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