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Action Painting, motorized

Posted by Christopher Shea  March 27, 2009 11:30 AM

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"An Expression of Joy" is the tagline in ads for BMW's new Z4 roadster, and also the name of a grand-scale artwork created by Robin Rhode -- sponsored by the carmaker -- to mark the car's arrival.

The South-African-born Rhode is a self-described "revolutionary contemporary artist." In 2000, he drew a park bench on an outer wall of the Parliamentary Building in Cape Town, then dressed up in dark, hooded clothing and loitered around the bench (and "sat" on it) until he got arrested for defacing property. He has also sketched a car on a gallery wall and then pretended to break into it, as visitors filed by.

For "An Expression of Joy," Rhode laid out a football-field-sized canvas and choreographed turns and donuts for the driver of a Z4 equipped with paint reservoirs and rear-facing nozzles that could be opened or closed by remote control. From an elevated platform, Rhode triggered the nozzles to dispense various colors as the driver careered around the blank sheet. Rhode also tossed some paint by hand, as a director filmed the creation.

Sections of the canvas are on display at New York's Grand Central Station through April 8. A commercial that draws on the filming of the painting will debut with the car, in May.

BMW has been a significant artistic patron in the past. In fact, the color palette Rhode deployed alludes to a noted set of paintings by Gerhard Richter that BMW commissioned 35 years ago for its Munich headquarters: the so-called Red, Yellow, Blue series.

Via ArtNews

(Photo from New York Times)

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About brainiac Brainiac is the daily blog of the Globe's Sunday Ideas section, covering news and delights from the worlds of art, science, literature, history, design, and more. You can follow us on Twitter @GlobeIdeas.
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