Julie Mehretu’s BMW Art Car to Make its World Premiere in Paris

World-renowned New York-based, Ethiopia-born artist Julie Mehretu working on her 20th BMW Art Car. (Photo: André Josselin and Tina Paffen © BMW AG)

Tadias Magazine

Updated: April 27th, 2024

New York (TADIAS) — Renowned Ethiopian-born artist Julie Mehretu is set to make history as the creator of the 20th BMW Art Car, marking a thrilling fusion of art, automotive design, and speed. The culmination of Julie’s creative vision will be unveiled at the Centre Pompidou in Paris on May 21, 2024, before making its racing debut at the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans in June. This groundbreaking collaboration promises to redefine the intersection of art and motorsport, as artist translates her monumental motifs onto the dynamic canvas of the BMW M Hybrid V8 racing car prototype.

Julie’s approach to the BMW Art Car project exemplifies her unparalleled ability to capture dynamism and translate it into form. Drawing inspiration from her extensive body of work, she employs a diverse palette of colors and forms, including obscured photographs, dotted grids, and neon-colored spray paint. The result is an abstract visual narrative that seamlessly integrates with the contours of the vehicle, creating a stunning work of art on wheels.

Detail shot of the 20th BMW Art Car by Julie Mehretu in the creation process. (Photo: André Josselin and Tina Paffen © BMW AG)

Central to Julie Mehretu’s creative process is the collaboration with the German Race Spirit team, led by Manuel Eberl and Gertraud Brenninger, who are responsible for realizing the intricate design on the BMW M Hybrid V8. Through a meticulous process of 3D mapping and high-resolution imaging, Julie’s artwork is transformed into a dynamic foil wrap that adorns the racing car, ensuring both aesthetic excellence and compliance with FIA regulations.

The unveiling of the BMW Art Car at the Centre Pompidou marks a momentous occasion in the history of the BMW Art Car Collection. Following in the footsteps of iconic artists such as Alexander Calder and Jeff Koons, Mehretu’s creation will be showcased alongside masterpieces of contemporary art, reinforcing the close connection between art and motorsport.

Julie Mehretu working on her 20th BMW Art Car. (Photo: André Josselin and Tina Paffen © BMW AG)

Beyond its racing debut at Le Mans, Julie’s BMW Art Car will embark on a global journey, becoming an exhibit in museums and art platforms worldwide. However, Julie’s's vision extends far beyond the confines of the racing track, as she seeks to inspire a new generation of artists through the PanAfricanTranslocal Media Workshop Series. In collaboration with Emmy-nominated producer Mehret Mandefro, Julie will host workshops in eight African cities, providing young creatives with a platform for collaboration and exchange.

Julie Mehretu’s selection as the designer of the 20th BMW Art Car reflects the BMW Group’s commitment to fostering creativity and innovation. With unrestricted creative freedom, Julie has reimagined the BMW Art Car as a symbol of artistic expression and technological innovation, setting a new standard for the intersection of art and automotive design.

As the world eagerly awaits the unveiling of Julie Mehretu’s BMW Art Car, the BMW Group invites enthusiasts to follow its cultural engagement initiatives on Instagram at @BMWGroupCulture, offering exclusive updates and deeper insights into its global initiatives.



Art Talk: A Conversation Between Julie Mehretu and Mehret Mandefro

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