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BMW Art Car collection going digital

First group of 10 launch for access through Acute Art’s augmented reality app


BMW says its famed Art Car collection is going digital and will be available “for everyone to enjoy no matter where they are in the world.” The first 10 cars launched July 21 through Acute Art’s augmented reality app. An additional car will be added to the portfolio every two weeks until all 19 cars are there, BMW added.

“The BMW Art Cars are an essential part of the DNA of BMW’s 50-year-long cultural engagement,” the announcement quotes Pieter Nota, BMW AG board member. “Finally, they are entering the digital realm and can be accessible everywhere and for everyone. I am excited about the collaboration with Acute Art as we both strive for innovation and cutting-edge technology.”

Acute Art was founded by Daniel Birnbaum, former director of a modern art museum in Sweden and curator of art exhibits in various European cities. It collaborates with contemporary artists to provide access to new technologies, allowing them “to translate their creative vision into new digital mediums – including virtual, augmented and mixed realities,” according to the BMW news release.

“We are thrilled about this partnership with BMW, a company that has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to technological innovation and art over decades.” Acute Art chief executive Jacob De Geer is quoted. 

“Acute Art was founded on the vision of democratizing art and bringing it to places where it could not be before. In these challenging times we have to find new solutions. The collaboration with the BMW Group will intensify the exchange between technology, design and art. Together we will explore future landscapes involving today’s most innovative minds working in these fields.”

BMW’s Art Car history traces back to 1975 when French racing driver and art aficionado Hervé Poulain worked with Jochen Neerpasch, founder of BMW Motorsport, to commission artist Alexander Calder to design the livery for Poulain’s BMW 3.0 CSL race car for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“Since then,” BMW notes, “18 more world renowned artists have gone on to express their own artistic vision using some of BMW’s most iconic models as their canvas.”

Now, using Acute Art’s mixed-reality technologies, all 19 BMW Art Cars have been “carefully scanned from all angles using a photogrammetric methodology, capturing every detail of the artists’ expression on each car’s surface.”

BMW notes that the Acute Art app is available free through the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


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