A car is "more beautiful than the Nike of Samothrace" according to the Manifesto of Futurism. Balla and Boccioni were captivated by the automobile, making it the object of their art. Painted, sculpted, distorted, dismembered and then reassembled, it has had a place in museums since the very beginning. But even without being transformed, some models have become collector's items because of their beauty. Created to be a means of transport with practical utility, today's cars have a fundamental aesthetic value capable of exciting even with the engine off.
Beware of imitations
Since June 20th, the most expensive car in the world holds another record. The Ferrari 250 GTO was the first car to be declared a work of art and as such is protected by copyright. This was ruled by the law court of Bologna to protect the design of the car from plagiarism. And this was how a car, that is inherently a symbol of industrial mass production, joined the cohort of objects whose value is determined by their uniqueness, becoming a work of art in its own right. The model is considered one of the greatest masterpieces to have ever left the Maranello workshops and sold for 70 million dollars in an auction because of its particular exteriors and its rich prize record. A new set of tyres was introduced in 2018 to make this Ferrari even more special. The iconic Pirelli Stelvio Corsa tyres were redesigned specifically for the car with a look that is true to the original, but implementing modern technologies to ensure safer driving to the lucky few collectors who have a 250 GTO in their garage.
The car becomes a canvas...
It is not only a matter of aerodynamics. The bodies of some of the most prestigious cars are often seen as works of art as well as of ingenuity. This has not stopped many artists from using the finished product as the canvas for their creative flair. In 1958, Picasso painted a "garland of peace" on the side of the car of a journalist who had come to his house for an interview. John Lennon had his Rolls-Royce Phantom V resprayed with hippie colours and motifs. Famous are the bodies of the BMW Art Cars decorated by internationally renowned artists, such as Andy Warhol. Not to mention a more alternative reinterpretation of restyling that creates nothing short of "temporary" works of art. This is the case of the artists who create stunning patterns and landscapes by drawing with their fingers on dusty cars and vehicles parked in the city.
...or a sculpture
Some artists have chosen to distort the original shapes of cars turning them into something new, like the Indonesian sculptor Ichwan Noor, who compresses vintage Beetles into perfect cubes and spheres, or Chris Labrooy, who manipulates and distorts them as if they were made of plastic. Artists on the opposite end of spectrum create cars using unconventional materials, such as the life-size McLaren Senna almost entirely built with Lego bricks, which is half a tonne heavier than the original. When fantasy surpasses reality.