Opening night of a new art fair called Paris Photo Los Angeles took place April 25 at Hollywood’s Paramount Studios. The studio’s back lot was a suitably theatrical venue that added interest to some otherwise predictably unimaginative, derivative, “been there, done that” photography on offer from dealers around the world. The opening attracted the usual assortment of would-be artists, hipsters and, the exhibitors would hope, a few dozen serious collectors of photography and books on the subject. And while it’d be tough to take much of what was proffered as “high art,” there were some notable exceptions. Like any art fair, those assiduously on the look out can discover diamonds amongst much coal.
We were guests of BMW, who hosted a pavilion and brought along an Art Car from the company’s collection of special automobiles which have been adorned at the time of their manufacture by artists like Calder, Lichtenstein, Stella, Fuchs, Rauschenberg and most famously, Warhol. Painted in a mere 23 minutes by AW in 1977, the BMW M1 race car is quite a sight, and doubly significant in that it was actually raced at Le Mans in 1979, finishing sixth overall and second in class. While not a ho-hum racing provenance, the car’s greater value lies in its paint job. BMW’s merging of art and technology is unique among carmakers, and the collection stands as one of the most interesting collections of sculpture made in recent decades. —Robert Ross, Managing Partner, Ross/Madrid Group, Inc.