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BMW Art Cars and An Expression of Joy Exhibit
by Tamara Warren
on 24 March 2009
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With contributions from Laura Neilson

Autos, art and transit collide when Robin Rhode's painting made using BMWs as paintbrushes and four of BMW's iconic "Art Cars" are put on show at Grand Central Terminal starting tomorrow.

The project dates back to 1975 when French race car driver and art collector Hervé Poulain dreamed it up and commissioned his friend Alexander Calder to reconceive his race car as a work of art. Since then, the auto company has commissioned 16 artists to give their cars the not-so-typical paint job, including David Hockney, Jenny Holzer and, most recently, Olafur Eliasson. Of the four cars on display by Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg and Frank Stella and Andy Warhol, Rauschenberg's is particularly striking for his adaptation of other artist's works, which he processed by means of photographic techniques and projected onto the car. For example, on the left side of the car, we see Bronzino's "Portrait of a Young Man" and on the right side a painting by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres. "I think mobile museums would be a good idea. This car is the fulfillment of my dream,” said Rauschenberg of his completed design.

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A second part of the exhibition will include a 30-foot by 40-foot canvas by contemporary artist Robin Rhode, who used a 2009 BMW Z4 Roadster as his paintbrush—literally. Rhode mounted paint dispensers behind the roadster's wheels and choreographed the car's movement and paint dispersal with a remote control from a 30-foot tower overlooking the project. In addition to the actual canvas, video footage of the auto in motion will be part of the installation. Check out the video below for a sample.

Click here to view all 16 art cars.

BMW Art Cars and An Expression of Joy
25 March-6 April 2009
Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central Terminal
87 East 42nd Street
New York, NY 10017 map
tel. +1 212 843 9394

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