BMW Art Cars Exhibited

Jason R. Sakurai
by Jason R. Sakurai

BMW art cars debuted today, using artificial intelligence (AI) software to generate new works of art. In conjunction with Frieze New York, the fair takes place in Manhattan from May 5 – 9, 2021.

Frieze New York has works of art from over 60 galleries, mainly located in New York. A viewing room with over 160 exhibitors runs through May 14, bringing together galleries worldwide, and audiences who can’t travel.

“The Ultimate AI Masterpiece”, is what they’re calling the virtual installation of BMW art cars, created by technologist Nathan Shipley of BMW’s ad agency, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, and Gary Yeh, a patron of the arts and founder of artDrunk.

Using NVIDIA’s StyleGAN AI, they cross-referenced over 50,000 images of artwork spanning 900 years. The question is whether it’s plagiarism no matter what fraction of a notable work of art you’ve used, or is it considered the equivalent of sampling, and therefore okay?

Besides culling centuries of art, the pair took what artists had produced for BMW previously. If there’s any of Roy Lichtenstein’s, or Andy Warhol’s, or Alexander Calder’s work, you won’t find it. AI whipped up new works, and it’s questionable if they’re ‘art’ at all.

This mash-up is a lot like taking Pavarotti, mixing it with Kid Rock, throwing in Kiss, and adding Taylor Swift.

The big question is what you think of AI-induced results projected onto a BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe.

BMW tried something different with limited attendance. Still, ugly is ugly, and that’s what they’ve served up this time around.

[Images: BMW]

Jason R. Sakurai
Jason R. Sakurai

With a father who owned a dealership, I literally grew up in the business. After college, I worked for GM, Nissan and Mazda, writing articles for automotive enthusiast magazines as a side gig. I discovered you could make a living selling ad space at Four Wheeler magazine, before I moved on to selling TV for the National Hot Rod Association. After that, I started Roadhouse, a marketing, advertising and PR firm dedicated to the automotive, outdoor/apparel, and entertainment industries. Through the years, I continued writing, shooting, and editing. It keep things interesting.

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  • El scotto The days of "Be American, buy America" are long gone. Then there's the mental gymnastics of "is a Subaru made in Lafayette, IN more American than something from gm or Ford made in Mexico?" Lastly, it gets down to people's wallets; something cheap on Amazon or Temu will outsell its costlier American-made item. Price not Patriotism sells most items. One caveat: any US candidate should have all of his/her goods made in the USA.
  • FreedMike Well, here's my roster of car purchases since 1981: Three VWsTwo Mazdas (one being a Mercury Tracer, full disclosure)One AudiOne FordOne BuickOne HondaOne Volvo I think I hear Lee Greenwood in the background... In all seriousness, I'd have bought more American cars had they made more of the kinds of cars I like (smaller, performance-oriented).
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X I'll gladly support the least "woke" and the most Japanese auto company out there.
  • Jmo2 I just got an email from the dealership where I bought my car and it looks like everything has $5k on the hood.
  • Lou_BC I suspect that since the global pandemic, dealerships have preferred to stay with the "if you want it, we will order it" business model. They just need some demo models on hand and some shiny bits to catch the impulse buyer. Profits are higher and risks lower this way.
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