By on July 29, 2018

Art cars kind of suck. Even though BMW has managed to produce a handful of stellar examples — models enhanced by Jeff Koons, Roy Lichtenstein, Frank Stella, Alexander Calder, and Andy Warhol — plenty of the brand’s artistic liveries have been far less appealing to the layperson.

Other companies have produced art cars as well. Last year, Lexus unveiled an incredible IS sedan covered in 41,999 programmable LEDs that created a perpetually changing and utterly hypnotic visual experience. However, its most recent example left me feeling a little empty inside.

Art is subjective, I know. But, when it’s slathered all over an automobile, you want it to be expressive of the car’s personality — or at least striking in a way that becomes transformative. The LFA Lexus brought to the Total 24 Hours of Spa race this weekend does neither. Frankly, it feels one step removed from purchasing some mass produced vinyl graphics off an online retailer and sticking them wherever. 

Intended to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Lexus’ F performance brand, which was previously commemorated by the limited edition Lexus RC F And GS F, the LFA was handed over to artist Pedro Henriques. The automaker appears to have a solid relationship with the creator. He’s cropped up before, getting a Lexus-branded art gallery where he covered half of a UX crossover in white paint earlier this month in Lisbon.

Henriques’ style is definitively minimalists, focusing heavily on shapes and negative space. I suppose the LFA is emblematic of his core technique. But it’s difficult not to simply write it of as lazy and boring. It is also slightly odd that the automaker decided to use an exceptionally rare vehicle that has been out of production since 2012. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to tart up a contemporary LC with paint? We know there is a high-performance F variant coming soon.

“My inspiration for this livery was the idea of fluidity present in the contemporary life, where things are in constant movement and it’s hard to freeze anything,” Henriques explained. “The lines in the drawings follow this feeling of going everywhere and never stopping; a progressive life. I wanted to reach an organic feeling by using handmade material and liquid lines in the elements spread through the car. By doing this I hope to express a feeling where the car becomes a less defined shape, in constant mutation in its movement.”

I’m not entirely sure I see the social commentary on present-day living. But maybe it’s absolutely brilliant and I’m simply not cultured enough to identify that particular aspect of the piece. The alternative is that there just isn’t a lot going on here and nothing to get all that excited about. However, those kinds of criticisms are best left to professional art connoisseurs who can endure looking at this kind of thing all day and find meaning where these is none.

Honestly, I was far more interested in seeing the Emil Frey Lexus Racing RC F GT3s running 24 Hours of Spa for the first time. It was a great race overall, loaded with tense moments and close calls. Unfortunately for Lexus, one of their cars was claimed by a fiery off and it was a Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 that ended up taking home the trophy.

[Images: Lexus]

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7 Comments on “Creative Liveries: Lexus Brings Art LFA to 24 Hours of Spa...”

  • avatar

    “Look, mommy, I splattered paint all over daddy’s new car”…

    Actually the paint detracts from some of the bizarre styling. I mean that as a positive

  • avatar

    This car looks like one of Danny Koker’s quick flips.

  • avatar

    Aside from the sound, the LFA has never been very appealing to me. That said, this one looks like it has melted in the sun.

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  • avatar

    I like the passenger side over the driver side. Your 7th paragraph said it best, Matt. There is the thought that if one does not find the significance in the art that one does not have the appropriate refined sensibility to do so. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If you find it good, it is. Don’t necessarily let someone who “thinks” they know better convince you otherwise. It’s like the famous painting that looks like a splattered drop cloth (curse my 66 year old brain for not remembering the artist’s name). Yes, it may have been intentionally done. It still looks like a drop cloth which caught paint platters. I don’t have to like it just because I’m told I should like it. I don’t need to feel I’m not “with it” if I don’t appreciate the piece. I don’t doubt the artist in this case felt he was doing exactly what he claims to have done. But part of me wonders if his explanation is a cover for laziness. In other words, is his explanation sincere or bogus to justify the art itself.

  • avatar

    Reminds me of the “Razzle-Dazzle” and “Dazzle” paint schemes used by the U.S. and Great Britain during WW2. Never knew how effective it was for confusing German U-Boat rangefinders, though.

  • avatar

    Eugh. At least follow ANY lines on the car and make it somewhat related.

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