After a one-year hiatus, the iconic Miami Art Basel returned in December 2021 with splashy exhibits and renewed energy among artists, exhibitors and visitors. BMW Group also returned to Miami as the official automotive partner offering its VIP shuttle service. But this year’s Art Basel was also the launch pad for BMW’s latest and most powerful production series car ever built – The BMW Concept XM.
The reveal took place ahead of the official opening of the Miami Art Basel at the iconic Herzog & de Meuron-designed parking garage at 1111 Lincoln Road. The event hosted by artist and sculptor Kennedy Yanko and Grammy-award winning artist NAS also introduced the audience to a unique experience which aims to mirror the one portrayed by the BMW XM. Pairing the bold and daring XM’s design with the equally bold art work in Miami is certainly a novelty for BMW, but likely not the last one.
On this occasion, BMW Group Culture also worked with Kennedy Yanko on a unique sculpture. The Brooklyn-based artist spent some time in Munich with the BMW design team to learn more about the process of designing, engineering and building a car. Kennedy tells us that she was fascinated by the the creative process within BMW, and how, for example, designers look at materials, surfaces or painting applications. Some of those conversations sparked some ideas which can be reflected in her work displayed in Miami. The sculpture was featured in the gallery under the name “Intrinsic Sage” featuring paint skin and metal.
During a casual chat with Kennedy, we learned that her process of creating artwork often takes her to scrapyards on the East Coast corridor where she searches for unique metals. This also plays into BMW’s approach to reducing components and using recycled materials. Just recently the company revealed the BMW i Vision Circular, a concept car made from a mix of recycled aluminum and steel. Kennedy also explains how her sculpture – with the paint skin and metal – helps to physically emphasize the power behind BMW’s creative innovations and skills.
Dr. Thomas Girst, BMW Group’s Head of Cultural Engagement, tells us that he sees BMW as a cultured brand immersed in both the real and digital life. Furthermore, Dr. Girst mentions the importance for BMW to not to interfere with the creative process, allowing artists to bring their visions to life.
In Miami, BMW also celebrated 50 years of Cultural Engagement. In 1971, Gerhard Richter was commissioned to create three large-scale paintings for the entrance hall of the new Munich corporate headquarters. Since then, a hundred long-term cultural initiatives of the BMW Group in the fields of modern and contemporary art, classical music, jazz and sound as well as in architecture and design have been well established throughout the decades.
We’ve also seen the BMW Group collaborate on several car art projects with renowned artists from around the world, including the upcoming BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe by Jeff Koons. Some of the art work collaborations can be seen in the heart of Munich at the BMW Museum, or displayed around the world in iconic museums, like the Guggenheim Museum or Tate Modern.