June 9, 2023

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Flour power: Andy Warhol’s BMW M1 targeted by climate protesters

Flour power: Andy Warhol’s BMW M1 targeted by climate protesters

Climate activists in Italy have thrown flour onto one of the most famous BMW ‘Art Cars’, which was hand-painted by famed artist Andy Warhol in 1979.

One of the most famous vehicles from the BMW Art Car series has been targeted by climate protesters in Italy.

The BMW M1 painted by famed American pop artist Andy Warhol in 1979 had eight kilograms of flour thrown on it, in an attempt to bring attention to environmental issues the protesters claim are being ignored.

“Our society is obsessed with objects, but it is not interested in protecting the future of its children. We can’t accept that,” the group Ultima Generazione (Last Generation) wrote in a translated message posted on Twitter.

“Art is as priceless as it is defenceless,” a spokesperson for BMW told Drive.

“It belongs to all of humankind and reflects the great accomplishments each and every one of us is capable of. Andy Warhol’s Art Car from 1979 is a unique masterpiece and we have no sympathy whatsoever for a violent attack defacing the artist’s achievement from many decades ago.”

Warhol’s BMW M1 race car was the fourth in the series, reportedly taking the artist 23 minutes to complete.

It was the first time an Art Car had been painted directly – rather than having a design transferred from a scale model, as was done previously – with the vehicle going on to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans that same year, driven by BMW Art Car founder Hervé Poulain.

Roughly 20 Art Cars have been created since Andy Calder painted a BMW 3.0 CSL for Mr Poulain in 1975, with the list including Australian artists Michael Nelson Jagamarra and Ken Done, who each painted E30-generation M3s in 1989.

The environmental group has vandalised three priceless art exhibitions this month, throwing soup on a Van Gogh piece and black liquid on a Gustav Klimt painting – both of which were unharmed thanks to protective glass screens.

It’s unlikely the flour attack on the M1 will have done any permanent damage to the car – which appears to be part of the protesters’ modus operandi.

Ben Zachariah

Ben Zachariah is an experienced writer and motoring journalist from Melbourne, having worked in the automotive industry for more than 15 years. Ben was previously an interstate truck driver and completed his MBA in Finance in early 2021. He is considered an expert in the area of classic car investment.

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