The Institute of Contemporary Arts in London may be closing its doors during the Olympics to accomodate beach volleyball proceedings, but that doesn't mean it won't be exhibiting work. The museum is moving off-site during the games, featuring a unique collection of BMW racing cars adorned with the designs of famous contemporary artists in the city's East End.

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Jeff Koons, Art Car, 2010, M3 GT2


"Art Drive! BMW Art Car Collection" takes up six floors of a car park in Shoreditch, East London, showcasing customized vehicles painted by famous artists such as David Hockney, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol. The BMW art car project initially began in 1975 when racing driver and auctioneer Hervé Poulain asked the mobile-artist Alexander Calder to do some auto-decorating for him. Adding stylistic touches to what Poulain claimed is "an already perfect object," other artists soon joined in the corporate-sponsored fun, with Jeff Koons being the most recent contemporary figure to participate, according to ARTINFO. The exhibit will showcase these BMW beauties spanning from the 1970s onward. Not everyone is enjoying this marriage of established art and commerce, however. Jonathan Jones over at the Guardian writes, "The whole thing would look very different if more, younger, artists were invited and allowed to do what they want, including total destruction of the car." We agree.

The art exhibit will take place as part of the London 2012 Festival, and runs until August 4, 2012. The ICA will also be exhibiting an online art show titled "Soundworks," which will showcase over 100 new sound works created by international artists until September 16, 2012.

So while the National Gallery may soon be partially closed and the ICA has been forced off-campus, there's no reason for art-goers to fret during the games. Just head over to Shoreditch and check out the museum's creative response to being temporarily homeless. Scroll down for images of the exhibit:

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  • Alexander Calder, Art Car, 1975 - BMW 3.0 CSL

  • Jeff Koons, Art Car, 2010, M3 GT2

  • Roy Lichtenstein, Art Car, 1977 - BMW 320i Gruppe 5 Rennversion

  • Esther Mahlangu, Art Car, 1992 - BMW 525i

  • César Manrique, Art Car, 1990 - BMW 730i

  • Andy Warhol, Art Car, 1979, BMW M1

  • Ken Done, Art Car, 1989 - BMW M3 group A racing version

  • A.R. Penck, Art Car, 1991 - BMW Z1

  • Frank Stella, Art Car, 1976 - BMW 3.0 CSL

  • Matazo Kayama, Art Car, 1990 - BMW 535i

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