Calder Foundation & BMW Debuts BMW Art Car At Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin!

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Soveena | 10-09-2021 12:30 PM

Calder Foundation and BMW presented the Calder BMW Art Car (Artist’s Proof) in the Neue Nationalgalerie of Berlin on the opening day of  “Alexander Calder: Minimal / Maximal” on August 22. 

“I first encountered the BMW Art Car as a kid at the opening of my grandfather’s far-ranging retrospective at the Whitney Museum in 1976. I asked him about the roar of its M49 engine, and he smiled and told me he wanted to make one for himself. He died just a few weeks later. 

Ever since I have dreamed of realising his wish to bring the car to life to experience its full glory in motion. I am thrilled that that day has finally come, and that the car will be activated for the opening of the Neue Nationalgalerie’s ‘Minimal / Maximal’ exhibition, which highlights the key element of social activation so fundamental to Calder’s work,” said the grandson of the artist and president of the Calder Foundation, Alexander S. C. Rower. 

Do not confuse the Artist’s Proof for a replica, clone, copy, reproduction, facsimile or 1:1 of the 1975 Calder BMW Art Car. This car is the identical Artist’s Proof that Calder was entitled to but was never realised until now. 

Due to the Artist’s Proof being built from an original BMW 3.0 CSL, it will carry the same Vehicle Identification Number, with the suffix “AP” (227592/AP).

Did you know that Calder’s BMW Art Car originated from the aeronautical sphere and not automotive?

Going back to 1974, French auctioneer and racecar driver Hervé Poulain proposed bringing in the artist’s recent collaboration with Braniff International Airways (Calder’s painted DC-8-62 aeroplane) into the automotive world. 

BMW and Poulain had tasked Calder to paint a design on a BMW that was to be raced at the 24 Heures du Mans in 1975. This resulted in an entire Art Car program at BMW, a crossover of the cars and art world. 

After racing at Le Mans in 1976, Calder’s Art Car was subsequently exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. 

“It was a thrilling moment as a young driver to meet the great American artist Alexander Calder at his home in Saché. Racing what became the first in a storied tradition of prestigious Art Cars is a memory I will never forget. I am delighted that more people will now get to experience Calder’s vision, thanks to this new Artist’s Proof,” mentioned Poulain. 

BMW Group Classic consulted many key members of the original team to realise this project. This includes Poulain and key supporter of the BMW Art Car Series, Jochen Neerpasch and the technical painter of the Calder BMW Art Car in 1975 and the Artist’s Proof in 2021, Walter Maurer. 

After the Calder BMW Art Car (Artist’s Proof) debut in Berlin will be presented at The Bridge in Bridgehampton, New York, on September 18. Following that, the Calder Foundation will lend Calder’s Artist’s Proof to exhibitions worldwide. 

After 50 years of its cultural engagement, BMW has collaborated with Acute Art to launch a special virtual exhibition. 

The BMW Art Car by Alexander Calder and the renowned BMW Art Car Collection have been exhibited in augmented reality (AR) via the free Acute Art app since July 21. 

Also celebrating its 50th anniversary this year is the BMW 3.0 CSL. The model was a legendary BMW Art Car and debuted alongside the BMW 3.0 CSi in 1971. 

The BMW 3.0 CSL sure lived up to its reputation as one of the most iconic cars in BMW automobile history by racing with the famous BMW Motorsport Works colours in 1973 and winning the European Touring Car Championship six times!

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