BMW recently revealed its latest art car project in celebration of the 50th anniversary of BMW Group Cultural engagement. The latest iteration uses artificial intelligence as its brush to paint a trio of BMW 8 Series Gran Coupes.

The German Automaker’s art car initiative began in 1975 with a 3.0 CSL race car that would compete in that year’s installment of the 24 Hours of LeMans. The first car opened up the floodgates to future projects involving top-caliber artists including Roy Lichtenstein and even Andy Warhol. 

Gallery: 2021 BMW Art Car

Referred to as “The Ultimate AI Masterpiece'' the latest virtual art installation uses artificial intelligence software to cross-reference over 50,000 works of art spanning over 900 years. Along with the fast-tracked art history degree, the software also looked through 50 curated contemporary pieces from artists that BMW has worked with over the past 50 years. Using its newfound understanding of classical and contemporary art, the software generates bespoke ideas that are projection-mapped onto the three Bimmers.

“AI is an emerging form of creative expression,” said Goodby creative technologist Nathan Shipley. “Combining the historical works with the curated modern works and projecting the evolving images onto the 8 Series Gran Coupe serves a direct nod to BMW’s history of uniting automobiles, art, and technology.”

As a virtual art installation, the forms on the vehicles appear to evolve over time as the software works through the preloaded data. It’s unclear if the final exhibit will show the same characteristics, but it provides a great explanation for how the software functions.

It’s fair to say that artificial intelligence is a touchy subject in and out of the automotive space. Opinions aside, it’s hard to argue with the final product that BMW has come up with in collaboration with artists around the world. Thanks to projection mapping, it almost bridges the gap between performance art and installation art.

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