Petersen Automotive Museum

‘Andy Warhol: Cars' Melds Art and Autos

The Petersen Automotive Museum will spotlight five fine vehicles that inspired the pop artist during his last commission.

Petersen Automotive Museum

What to Know

  • "Andy Warhol: Cars" at the Petersen Automotive Museum
  • Opens July 23, 2022
  • Five Mercedes-Benz vehicles (all part of the artists final commission) as well as dozens of artworks and the artist's own 1974 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow

The oeuvre of Andy Warhol?

It was quirky and capacious, and surprising and sublime, and if you were to cite "soup cans" first, or "super-famous celebrities" before naming any other subject matter that the pop icon iconoclastically took on, you'd be in the right wheelhouse.

But wheels, too, caught the celebrated artist's fancy, specifically several ultra-luxe Mercedes Benz vehicles.

The company commissioned the painter to put many its finest cars on canvas, all to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Mercedes-Benz.

Andy Warhol passed away in 1987, making the car project his final commission.

"Warhol planned to create 80 pieces of art using 20 different Mercedes models spanning the German automaker's 100-year history," reveals the Petersen. "But only 49 works, 36 screen prints on canvas and 13 drawings, were completed before Warhol's unexpected passing in 1987 after routing surgery leaving the project unfinished."

The Petersen Automotive Museum will celebrate these works, and five of the vehicles that inspired the artist, when "Andy Warhol: Cars — Works from the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection" debuts at the Miracle Mile museum on July 23, 2022.

It's a rare opportunity to behold both an artist's paintings and the paintings' direct inspirations, all in one location, and the vehicles themselves?

These automobiles sit at the pinnacle of experimental opulence and sleek design: Look for a Mercedes Benz W 125 Grand Prix Car from 1937 to be on display, as well as a C111 Experimental Vehicle from 1970.

"Andy Warhol was an iconic and influential figure that pioneered Pop art and culture," said Petersen Automotive Museum Executive Director Terry L. Karges.

"Not many have seen his automotive work, so we are excited to display them to the public alongside the unique vehicles that inspired his creative visions. It is an exclusive exhibit that appeals to both admirers of fine art and amazing automobiles."

Also on view during the run of "Andy Warhol: Cars"?

Look for the artist's personal 1974 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow, an automobile he never drove. The artist did not have a driver's license, quite famously, so he was often driven around by friends like actor Liza Minnelli.

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