The highly acclaimed presentation of Andy Warhol’s now world-famous Cars series —comprehensively shown in 2022/23 at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles — began in 1988 at the Guggenheim Museum in New York and at the Kunsthalle Tübingen in Germany. These exhibitions can be seen as the starting point for the brisk international exhibition activity and later world tour of the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection. Andy Warhol created the Cars series in 1986 on behalf of the company then known as Daimler-Benz AG. Further stops of Warhol’s last coherent group of works included Japan in 1989–91, Bern, Madrid, and Barcelona, various German cities, as well as in Milton Keynes, Great Britain, in 2001, and at the Albertina Museum in Vienna, in 2010.
The first exhibition of the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection, featuring works and groups of works by several artists, from Josef Albers to Ben Willikens, was held at the Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin in 1999. In 2000, the Collection was hosted by the Museum für Konkrete und Konstruktive Kunst in Zürich with a slightly different focus.
Then, in 2003, the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection embarked on its first worldwide tour: 150 works from the Collection were first exhibited at the Museum für Neue Kunst | ZKM Karlsruhe, then at the Detroit Institute for the Arts (2003/04), at the major museums of Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Pretoria (2004/05), as well as in Tokyo (2006), at MASP São Paulo (2007), the Fundación Juan March Palma de Mallorca and Madrid (2007/08), in Singapore (2008), as well as at the MALBA Buenos Aires, the mumok in Vienna (2010), the Mercedes-Benz Museum Stuttgart (2011) and the Museo Santa Giulia in Brescia (2013). An essential part of the world tour, which ended in 2013, was an extensive education program.