Julie Mehretu has been announced as the creator of the 20th BMW Art Car. BMW’s Art Car Collection is the stuff of corporate legend, a cohesive, credible and widely admired pairing of contemporary artists given free rein to treat a BMW (preferably a racing one) as a canvas.
Starting with Alexander Calder’s BMW 3.0 CSL in 1975, on the urging of his friend, the auctioneer and racing driver Hervé Poulain, the series has included works by Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Esther Mahlangu, David Hockney, Andy Warhol, Olafur Eliasson, Cao Fei and Jeff Koons, who also went on to create a limited edition BMW 8-Series. Overseen for 20 years by Thomas Girst, each new commission is given suitably elevated prominence in the art world.
Julie Mehretu is no different, with the announcement taking place at the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum in New York. Mehretu was chosen by an international jury of museum directors and curators; her canvas will be the BMW M Hybrid V8, shown here in raw carbon fibre.
Mehretu was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 1970, and her family moved to America in 1977. After studying at Kalamazoo College, Michigan, and the Rhode Island School of Design, Mehretu has used her work to explore psychogeography and the lived experience of space, building up a rich body of paintings, prints and drawings (see our 2021 interview with Mehretu, ahead of her exhibition at the Whitney).
In addition to the creation of the livery for the 2024 Le Mans car, Mehretu’s appointment will include the establishment of artistic workshops across Africa in 2025. The Translocal Media Workshop Series, devised in collaboration with the Emmy-nominated producer and writer Mehret Mandefro, will see the creation of spaces for artists to meet, exchange, and collaborate in trans-local ways. The series will culminate in an exhibition at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in Cape Town in 2025, including the 20th BMW Art Car.
Receive our daily digest of inspiration, escapism and design stories from around the world direct to your inbox
Jonathan Bell has written for Wallpaper* magazine since 1999, covering everything from architecture and transport design to books, tech and graphic design. He is now the magazine’s Transport and Technology Editor. Jonathan has written and edited 15 books, including Concept Car Design, 21st Century House, and The New Modern House. He is also the host of Wallpaper’s first podcast.
Hella Jongerius named Honorary Royal Designer for Industry 2023
The Dutch designer received the Honorary Royal Designer for Industry 2023 accolade alongside creatives from different disciplines
By Rosa Bertoli Published
London restaurant and tequila bar Ixchel brings Mexico’s timeless flavour to every sip and bite
On London’s King’s Road, Ixchel offers an unmissable fusion of Mexican art, cuisine and atmosphere
By Sofia de la Cruz Published
Matthew M Williams is leaving Givenchy
American designer Matthew M Williams is set to exit his role as creative director of Givenchy after a three-year tenure
By Jack Moss Published
Paris Photo 2023: Eva Nielsen puts our impact on the Camargue in dynamic focus
At Paris Photo 2023, ‘Insolare’ by Eva Nielsen, in collaboration with BMW Art Makers, is a compelling exploration of human impact on the landscape
By Sophie Gladstone Published
Wayne McGregor and Random International collaborate on futuristic dance performance
Presented by BMWi and Superblue during Frieze London 2021, No One is an Island is an arresting yet hypnotic dance performance confronting the relationship between man and machine
By Rachael Moloney Published
The artful and risky vision of photojournalist Émeric Lhuisset
We get behind the lens with the French artist to discuss the possibilities of photography and the compelling body of work chronicling the journey of refugees produced during his BMW Art & Culture residency
By Nargess Shahmanesh Banks Last updated
Camille Blatrix on exploring desire and BMW technology
The artist will reveal his BMW Open Work commission at Frieze London
By Jessica Klingelfuss Last updated
Top speed: John Baldessari creates his fastest ever artwork for BMW
By Rosa Bertoli Last updated
BMW Art Journey reveals shortlisted creatives at Art Basel Miami Beach
By Nick Compton Last updated
The BMW Art Car collection parks up in London’s Shoreditch
By Jonathan Bell Published