BMW’s collection of art cars can now be appreciated in augmented reality from the palm of your hand using the Acute Art app, which is available for Apple iOS and Android devices. All nineteen of BMW’s art cars were digitally scanned using photogrammetric methodology to capture every detail of their intricacies, and ten have been added to the Acute Art app as of July 21, with one scheduled to digitally debut every two weeks until the entire collection is available for viewing.

The history of BMW’s art cars dates back to their 1975 inception, when French racing driver and art appreciator Hervé Poulain and founder of BMW Motorsport Jochen Neerpasch asked Alexander Calder to design Poulain’s BMW 3.0 CSL. Poulain would later race the car at Le Mans, forever enshrining the effort in BMW history. Subsequent to the first car, an additional eighteen have followed, with world-renowned artists from a variety of disciplines using them as a blank canvas to express themselves.

“The BMW Art Cars are an essential part of the DNA of BMW’s 50-year-long cultural engagement. 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,” said Pieter Nota, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for customer, brands and sales.

The Acute Art app uses a proprietary blend of virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality technology to digitally reproduce art that can be appreciated in a new dimension. Thanks to the app, BMW’s art cars can be envisioned in front of a user and interacted with through an immersive 360-degree augmented reality exhibition. For example, each car can be placed in front of the user, and the 3D model can then be walked around and examined in a level of detail most don’t get to appreciate, even when viewing the cars in the flesh (but from a distance) at the Welt in Munich.

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

This year marks the 50th anniversary of BMW’s cultural engagement efforts, and to celebrate, the 1975 BMW 3.0 CSL Art Car by Alexander Calder will be on display during Art Basel in September in Basel, Switzerland. In addition to the physical car, guests will also get to experience the digital art cars in a special augmented reality area using the Acute Art app.—Alex Tock

[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]

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