Anthony James: Hot Wheels

Craig McDean Shoots the Auto-Obsessed Sculptor

Anthony James made his dent on the art world in 2008 with a sacrificial torched Ferrari titled "ΚΘ", but his love for extraordinary machines blossomed at London's Central St. Martin’s college where he studied fine art. “I learned the beauty of metal, and saw it as a medium for a discourse of our culture,” James says. The mechanical muse has since featured heavily in the artist’s oeuvre, from his 2004 work “Saw,” for which he installed a chainsaw in a mirrored light box, to ambitiously scaled future projects that James hints will involve an F-12 airplane. Having developed a reputation early on as an enfant terrible of the contemporary art world, James nurtures his rebel persona by indulging a penchant for getaway vehicles: alternating between a ’73 Mercedes SL coupé and a black Rolls-Royce Corniche to explore the canyons and highways of Los Angeles, his part-time home. James also resides in New York, where he was snapped for NOWNESS by longtime friend and celebrated photographer Craig McDean. We asked the artist to list his favorite vintage models.

1937 Bugatti 57
A little too decadent and a little too scarce, but almost perfection.

1957 Ferrari Testa Rossa
Part of the 250 series and one of the great contributions to the discourse of automobiles. 

1961 Jaguar E-Type
I like metal, I like aluminum, I like a V12 [12-cylinder engine], I like a 170 miles an hour. 

1961 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato
Too beautiful for James Bond. 

1962 Ferrari 250 GTO
Listen to Claude Lelouch's [1976 short film] C'etait un Rendezvous soundtrack: In order to make the 6.9 liter Mercedes in the film sound faster, they recorded a Ferrari then overdubbed it. 

1966 Ford GT40 Mk II
The best of America. Its domination of Le Mans took Ferrari out of the running.

1971 Ferrari Daytona
Eurotrash, Miami Vice, Versace suits, Lake Como to Monaco. 

1987 Ferrari F40
No traction control, no computer bullshit––just raw power. The most fun car to drive. 

1992 McLaren F1
A breakthrough in technology. Undoubtedly one of the best-performing machines ever made. 

2005 Ford GT
Ford's former chief designer Camilo Pardo's masterpiece. My favorite car.

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