Appearing for the first time in North America in over 30 years, “Andy Warhol: Cars – Works from the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection” will go on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, CA.
“Andy Warhol was an iconic and influential figure that pioneered Pop art and culture,” said Petersen Automotive Museum Executive Director Terry L. Karges. “Not many have seen his automotive works, so we are excited to display them to the public alongside the unique vehicles that inspired his creative visions. It is an exclusive exhibit that appeals to both admirers of fine art and amazing automobiles.”
A 1937 W 125, on loan from the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Germany, was initially built for Grand Prix racing. Also making its way from the German museum is the unique 1970 C 111-II. The experimental Mercedes-Benz used a highly-aerodynamic fiberglass body and tri-rotor Wankel engine (later replaced with a turbo-charged diesel) to reach speeds of 200 mph. On loan from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum is a 1954 W 196.
Warhol was famous for his iconography of everyday life items like Campbell’s Soup cans, Coca-Cola bottles and Brillo boxes, in addition to his colorful renderings of a multitude of famous figures and celebrities (his “Shot Sage Blue Marilyn” portrait of Marilyn Monroe recently sold for a record-breaking $195 million). Mercedes-Benz originally commissioned the “Cars” series in 1986 to help celebrate its 100th anniversary after seeing Warhol’s silkscreen prints of its 300 SL Coupe. Warhol planned to create 80 pieces of art using 20 different Mercedes models spanning the German automaker’s 100-year history. But only 49 works, 36 screen prints on canvas and 13 drawings, were completed before Warhol’s unexpected passing in 1987 after routine surgery leaving the project unfinished.
The exhibition will open to the public on July 23rd and is being held at the Petersen Automotive Museum.