Driving at the Speed of Art

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xi_k1T7Ymbk]

BMW is one of the most recognized automotive brands available today, incorporating both cutting edge technology and superb design elements into their cars year after year. One unique facet of the brand is their series of art cars, which combines pop art and the automobile, fusing both into a product that is more than a display piece. Make no mistake, these babies are meant to be driven, and in some instances, raced professionally in the grueling 24 Hours of LeMans. Beginning with the first commission in 1975 by Alexander Calder, the art car series has expanded to 17 models, showcasing the talents of David Hockney, Jenny Holzer, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, and Andy Warhol. Works by Hockney, Lichtenstein, and Stella are in the collection here at the Phillips, and Stella’s latest series is the subject of our current exhibition.

Stella was commissioned by BMW in 1979 to produce an art car based on his Polar Coordinates series of paintings and prints, however he did another art car for a private client in 1979 using the same theme. The grid pattern is said to represent latitude and longitude, with areas of blue, rose, gray, and purple accenting parts of the car.

In the video , you’ll catch a quick glimpse of Stella’s K.43 (lattice variation) protogen RPT sculpture at 29 seconds. You can see the work in its entirety on display in our 3rd floor gallery through September 4 as part of the Stella Sounds:  The Scarlatti K Series exhibition.

Interestingly enough, the Stella BMW M1 art car is slated to go on the auction block at Bonhams this August.

-Sandy Lee, IT Support Specialist

PHOTO CONTEST: What do you see in Stella’s K.43?

Frank Stella, "K.43 (lattice variation) protogen RPT (full-size)" (detail), 2008. Protogen RPT with stainless steel tubing, 144 x 176 x 116 in. Courtesy of FreedmanArt. © 2011 Frank Stella / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Sarah Osborne Bender

Snap a photo of something in your daily life that reminds you of Frank Stella’s swirling sculpture for a chance to win a Phillips after 5 summer prize pack. Phillips after 5 (normally held on first Thursdays) will take place every week from August 4 through September 1. The winner receives free admission for one plus two free drinks! A winning photo will be revealed on the blog the Tuesday before each of the five events. Photos must be received by noon on Monday preceding each event to be considered for that week’s prize.

Send your photo(s) to tpcindc@gmail.com with:

  • your name
  • contact information
  • a line or two describing the relationship you see between the object in your photo and Stella’s sculpture
  • permission to reproduce your photo, if selected as a winner

Photos will be judged on composition and creative visual relationship to the selected Stella sculpture.

What was Stella listening to?

Harpsichordist Steven Silverman rehearsing today in the gallery beside Frank Stella's exciting K.43 (lattice variation) protogen RPT (full-size). Photo: Sarah Osborne Bender

If you’ve wondered what Frank Stella was listening to when he created the sculptures in the Scarlatti Kirkpatrick Series, harpsichordist Steven Silverman will be performing tonight in-gallery to share the sounds of the Italian composer’s sonatas. The event is sold out, but visitors to the museum today got a wonderful preview during a rehearsal. Sounds of the instrument could be heard beautifully filtering down all three floors of the galleries.