Julie Mehretu to create 20th BMW Art Car

Julie Mehretu to create 20th BMW Art Car

BMW Group Cultural Engagement

Julie Mehretu at the Rolex 24 at DAYTONA, 2023. © Julian Kroehl.

July 1, 2023
Julie Mehretu to create 20th BMW Art Car

Instagram / #BMWArtCar / #BMWGroupCulture / #juliemehretu

BMW announced a collaboration at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum with internationally acclaimed New York-based artist Julie Mehretu to create the 20th BMW Art Car. Mehretu was unanimously chosen by an international jury of 13 museum directors and curators, including Hans Ulrich Obrist (Serpentine Galleries), Stephanie Rosenthal (Guggenheim Museum Abu Dhabi), Koyo Kouoh (Zeitz MOCAA) and Okwui Enwezor (1963–2019). BMW will enter Mehretu’s BMW M Hybrid V8 Art Car in the 24 Hour race of Le Mans in June 2024. This almost 50-year tradition has delighted not only motorsport enthusiasts but anyone into design or the arts, technology and mobility. Since 1975, artists such as Alexander Calder, Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Esther Mahlangu, Jenny Holzer, Jeff Koons, Cao Fei, and John Baldessari have created cars for BMW.

“I’ve loved cars for most of my life, as toys, as objects, as possibilities. It is from that space that I’m really excited to be working on the next BMW Art Car more than anything,” says Julie Mehretu. “The thrill of the speed, the 24 Hour race of Le Mans and what is possible to invent in hybrid and fully electric vehicles as future modes of play and pushing ahead into new terrains of transportation and motorsports.”

”The BMW Art Car Collection is a central element of our global cultural commitment, which has been in place for more than 50 years,” said Ilka Horstmeier, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Human Resources and Real Estate, at the presentation in New York. ”The combination of technology and art, of design and motorsport sparks a timeless fascination. I have admired Julie Mehretu’s work for many years. I am particularly pleased that our cooperation will have a lasting cultural impact beyond the vehicle she has designed, especially in Africa.”

The collaboration between BMW and Julie Mehretu will not only leave its mark on the Le Mans racetrack. In addition to the car, Mehretu’s concept includes a Translocal Media Workshop Series, taking place in eight African cities. The outcome of the workshops will be presented together with the 20th BMW Art Car at the Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town in 2025.

Okwui Enwezor (1963–2019), jury member for the 20th BMW Art Car in 2018 and former Director of Haus der Kunst, Munich: “Julie Mehretu’s work incapsulates different questions of movement. She expresses dynamism within a form. It is a very clear and sound understanding of how the object acts in space. And I think this really makes it a very exciting proposition to have an artist of her calibre who has the long-standing experience to take on this project.”

The artist
Julie Mehretu was born in Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia, in 1970. Together with her family she moved to the USA at the age of seven. She received her B.A. from Kalamazoo College, Michigan, graduated from The Rhode Island School of Design with a Masters of Fine Arts degree in 1997, and also spent a year studying at Cheikh Anta Diop University, Dakar Senegal. In exploring palimpsests of history, from geological time to a modern-day phenomenology of the social, her paintings, prints and drawings engage the viewer in a dynamic visual articulation of contemporary experience, a depiction of social behavior and the psychogeography of space. 

Mehretu has been running a studio in New York since 1999, and is represented globally by Marian Goodman Gallery, while also exhibiting with White Cube, London, and Carlier Gebauer, Berlin.

Press contact
Doris Fleischer, Spokesperson BMW Group Cultural Engagement, T +49 151 601 27806 / Doris.Fleischer [​at​] bmw.de

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