You Can Use Your Phone To Pretend You Own A BMW Art Car

BMW’s Art Cars are getting the Pokemon Go treatment, and will be going digital using augmented reality (AR). BMW partnered with Acute Art to bring its most creatively-painted machines to the real world — in a manner of speaking.

The Acute Art app will use your smartphone to virtually place the cars onto whatever space, where you can view them in 360 degrees. The cars are viewable in-app, but you can also snap photos of them! I really wanted to hate this because collaborations like this often end up being a little gimmicky, but I can’t.

Image: Jalopnik / José Rodríguez Jr.

I actually like this, not only because BMW’s art cars are cool and this pays respectful homage, but also because this is about as close as I’ll get to owning an E30 M3, now that they’ve appreciated beyond what mere mortals can afford.

Here’s a refresher from BMW about the history of their beloved works of art:

Initiated by French race car driver and art aficionado Hervé Poulain and conceived in collaboration with the founder of BMW Motorsport Jochen Neerpasch, the first BMW Art Car was commissioned when both asked Alexander Calder to design Poulain’s BMW race car in 1975. Since then, 19 prominent artists from throughout the world have designed BMW automobiles of their times, all making extremely different artistic statements and reflecting the cultural and historical development of art, design, and technology.

BMW says that you can place the cars in an “immersive exhibition,” whether it’s inside, outside or “in any location the user desires.”

That sounds vaguely suggestive, but it also means that users can put the machines in out-of-the-way places where they wouldn’t typically belong. That’s kind of the idea, right?

BMW will release a handful of the cars first, but all 19 of the art cars will make it onto the Acute Art app in the coming weeks. These are the first ones on:

  • Alexander Calder’s BMW 3.0 CSL, 1975
  • Michael Jagamara Nelson’s BMW M3, 1989
  • Ken Done’s BMW M3, 1989
  • Matazo Kayama’s BMW 535i, 1990
  • Esther Mahlangu’s BMW 525i, 1991
  • Jeff Koons’s BMW M3 GT2, 2010
  • John Baldessari’s BMW M6 GTLM, 2016

I finally have a good reason to use AR. Now excuse me while I go line up all of these next to my hatchback and pretend I’m an art collector.

Image: Jalopnik / José Rodríguez Jr.