A visitor takes a photo of Andy Warhol’s Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Coupe (1954) at the Albertina museum, in Vienna, Austria, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2010. Under the title "Cars" the Albertina museum is showing an exhibition from the artists Andy Warhol, Sylvie Fleury, Robert Longo and Vincent Szarek. AP Photo/Ronald Zak.

VIENNA.- CARS presents works from the Daimler Collection, by artists Andy Warhol, Robert Longo, Sylvie Fleury, and Vincent Szarek. Common to all of the works is their examination of the history, the types, or the design of the Mercedes-Benz car. The core of the exhibit are the thirty-five silkscreen paintings of Andy Warhol’s (1928–1987) series CARS, which employ eight selected types of Mercedes to document the history of the automobile. This important late series by Warhol remained unfinished and after around twenty years is being shown again complete. Joining this series are drawings and airbrushed paintings by Robert Longo (*1953). Videos by Sylvie Fleury (*1961) blend the myth of the legendary Mercedes-Benz automobile with some of the most contemporary ideas from the art and fashion worlds. Vincent Szarek (*1973) uses design elements from the Mercedes-Benz SLR as the starting point for his group of sculptures, which were digitally developed as a modern form of drawing, rendered with 3D programs.

Andy Warhol’s CARS series from 1986/87 can be seen as a highlight in the late working phase of the Pop artist. Commissioned on the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of the automobile, it would be the artist’s last series and remained incomplete. Of the eighty planned pictures, intended to use twenty selected Mercedes-Benz models to document the history of the car from the 1886 Daimler Motor Carriage and the Benz Patent Motor Car to 1986, Warhol completed thirty-five paintings (thirty-two of them belong to the Daimler Art Collection) and twelve large-format drawings showing eight different models. The first eight models were completed by early January 1987, each in two versions: a single and a multiple portrayal. The artist produced the three additional large-format works in the last two weeks before his death on February 22. Between 1988 und 1991, the Warhols CARS serie has been exhibited in museums internationally, starting in the Kunsthalle Tübingen and in the Guggenheim Museum New York as well as in Tokyo, Bern, Madrid und Barcelona. After around twenty years the series is again shown complete.

The commission that went to Andy Warhol in 1986 was groundbreaking for the intense cooperation with artists as well as for the early international direction taken by the Art Collection. A second commission went to the New York-based artist Robert Longo in 1995, who created a sequence of five black-and-white automobile “portraits” and a “big-screen” grid profile of a compressor convertible. Vincent Szarek, New York, examined the phenomenon of individualized mass production, using his shiny-painted picture objects to connect the design history of the car with hybrid surfaces from the Baroque to the contemporary wireframe.

In 2005, Sylvie Fleury created a series of six three-channel videos for the Mercedes-Benz Center in Paris. These films, which form an outstanding part within Fleury’s multimedia work created since 1990, blend the appeal of legendary Mercedes-Benz automobiles—from the Lightning Benz and the Gullwing to the C 111— with the latest contemporary ideas from the worlds of art and fashion.

Since the eighties, commissions to design and realize site-specific works have gone to Max Bill, Heinz Mack, François Morellet, Walter De Maria, Nam June Paik, Robert Rauschenberg, Ben Willikens, Tamara K. E., Gerold Miller, Auke de Vries, Pietro Sanguineti, Franz Erhard Walther, Jan van der Ploeg, Nic Hess, Andreas Schmid, Stephane Dafflon, and other artists, who created large sculptures, wall objects, or murals for various company sites.

The Daimler Art Collection is one of the most renowned German corporate collections. It focuses on the area of twentieth-century Abstract Art: from the circle of artists around Adolf Hölzel in Stuttgart in the nineteen-tens, Bauhaus, Constructivism, Concrete Art, the European Zero avant-garde, Minimalism, Conceptual tendencies, and Neo Geo, all the way to the most recent contemporary art. There are areas dedicated to photography and media art as well as a total of thirty large public sculptures in Stuttgart, Sindelfingen, and Berlin. In-house exhibitions, at the Daimler Contemporary exhibition space at Potsdamer Platz in Berlin, and at international museums as well as grants awarded to upcoming artists communicate the Daimler Art Collection to a wide audience.

Via artdaily.org

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