Here at Fueled Designs, the BMW Art Cars are the definition of our mission: Combining a love of art with a passion for automobiles. We see contemporary, influential artists given free reign on some of the best designs that the German automaker has offered. One of our favorites? The E92 M3 that received a dynamic, engaging design by none other than Jeff Koons. While not usually a fan of Koons, the flow of his work over the coupe is absolutely spectacular, and even when it's sitting still, the car looks like it is in motion. Good design is good design, no matter who creates it.
Our other favorites in the collection include the Andy Warhol M1, the Rauschenberg E24 (we have a soft spot for E24's), and the Alexander Calder 3.0 CSL.
Rauschenberg's treatment of the E24 displays his trademark heavy texture and influences from nature.
The latest in the line of Art Cars is an M6 GT3 which was handed over to Los Angeles-based artist John Baldessari. Baldessari has made a name for himself in repurposing art and, like so many before him, asking the viewer to reflect upon their definition of "Art." Baldessari uses existing art, which he calls "found art" and then modifies it, usually using colorful dots and/or clippings from other work, to create something new. His work usually involves a caption, which conveys his dry humor and hints at a deeper critique of the object shown. If one wishes to see a deeper meaning to the caption, it's possible, or it can be taken at face value. The interpretation is up to the viewer, and to Baldessari, therein lies the art. He's a mix of Warhol's commercial art, Pollack's use of art as expression, and Magritte's ironic captions. To us, he's an impostor of all and a master of none.
As a company which does a fair amount of livery design and vinyl installation work, color us unimpressed with Baldessari's treatment of the M6 GT3. He calls upon his trademark dots to decorate the "found art" that is the car, and then emblazons "FAST" down the side, an example of his dry wit. Yes. It's a race car. Yes. It's fast.
Inevitably, the question we get asked upon disagreeing with BMW's choice in Baldessari is "Well who would you have chosen?" The answer to that one is simple, for once. You see, the BMW Art Car line has included names such as Warhol, Lichtenstein, Stella... Artists who you don't have to be a snobby art gallery regular to recognize. It doesn't take an art history degree to recognize Warhol's Soup Can or Lichtenstein's Drowning Girl.
With such popular artists being included in the Art Car hall of fame, it would seem only fitting that BMW would elect to commission someone with a similar level of popularity to participate. Our choice? Take the car, leave it in a back alley of London, and wait for our choice to pick up his spray cans and decorate it before disappearing back into the shroud of anonymity. Yes, our suggestion to BMW is none other than... Banksy.
You see, Banksy has brought urban street art into the high end galleries. His pieces sell for millions, should someone be so bold as to remove them from the walls which hold them. He is to the 2000s as Pollack and Warhol were to the 1960s. His work is massively popular, and thanks to the internet and social media, when a new piece shows up, it is shared around the world within minutes. He shows up everywhere from the most exclusive art galleries to the shelves of Target and the boards of Pinterest. Even more impressive - He does it all without letting us know who he is. Like so many of us, he goes by an alias. A handle, if you will. He is the art equivalent of The Stig. Why BMW didn't choose him? No clue. Maybe they couldn't find him, or maybe he declined. However, it is in this publication's humble opinion that Banksy would be a much more appropriate choice for an Art Car. We're waiting. BMW. We are waiting.
What do you think about the Baldessari Art Car? Let us know in the comments!