Home Arts Julie Mehretu will create BMW’s next Art Car

Julie Mehretu will create BMW’s next Art Car

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Julie Mehretuthe revered New York painter known for her large-scale architectural compositions, will soon be working with a surface as dynamic as the swirling forms she is known for: she has been selected to create the next BMW Art Car, the 20th in the series of contemporary art commissions from the German automaker.

Mehretu’s selection was announced at a ceremony Wednesday night (June 28) at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. She will customize a BMW M Hybrid V8, a vehicle with a hybrid propulsion system, 640 horsepower and a top speed of around 345 km/h, which will be entered in the famous 24 hour race at Le Mans, in France, in June 2024.

BMW Art Car series, which launched in 1975 with a splashy paint job by Alexander Calder on a BMW 3.0 CSL, has since involved many of the biggest names in contemporary art, from Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol to Jenny Holzer, David Hockney, Jeff Koons and Cao Fei. . Mehretu’s immediate predecessor in the driver’s seat of the project was the late John Baldessari, who gave a BMW M6 GTLM a suitably irreverent paint job in 2016.

John Baldessari with his BMW Art Car Photo by Chris Tedesco. © BMW AG

“I’ve loved cars most of my life, as toys, as objects, as possibilities. It is from this space that I am really excited to work on the next BMW Art Car more than anything,” Mehretu said in a statement.

The Ethiopian-American artist was chosen for the commission unanimously by a jury that included outgoing Guggenheim director Richard Armstrong, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi director Stephanie Rosenthal, the late Nigerian curator Okwui Enwezor (1963-2019) and Koyo Kouoh, the director and chief curator of Zeitz. Mocaa in Cape Town, South Africa, among others. The jury also included Hervé Poulain, who is credited with initiating the BMW Art Car project and who is now the managing director of French auction house Artcurial.

“Julie Mehretu is primarily known for her large-scale, two-dimensional works based on speed, space, the creation and imagination of space,” Rosenthal said in a statement. This project “will, I think, extend his experience of working with a three-dimensional object and in some way the implementation of his idea of ​​space, and will probably also become a form of futuristic architecture exploring technology”.

Julie Mehretu, See the gold, cry the black2019 Photo: Cathy Carver. Private collection. Courtesy of Marian Goodman Gallery. © Julie Mehretu

In addition to racing at Le Mans and traveling for temporary exhibitions, vehicles from the BMW Art Car series are on display in rotation at the BMW Museum in Munich.

The Art Car commission has been Mehretu’s most publicized commission for over a decade. In 2010, she unveiled her huge WallA 80 foot long painting for the Goldman Sachs headquarters lobby in Lower Manhattan.

In 2021, Mehretu make a donation his painting Dissenting note (2019-21) to support collectors and philanthropists Agnes Gundof the Art for Justice Fund. Its sale on the Artsy online art marketplace for a record $6.5 million has helped support the organization’s criminal justice reform efforts.

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