Koon’s relationship with BMW started more than two decades ago when he first drove a BMW whilst living in Munich, home to the BMW Group headquarters. It was in 2003 that Koons first expressed his desire to create a BMW Art Car.
Frank-Peter Arndt, member of the Board of Management for the BMW AG and responsible for BMW Group’s international cultural formats, said: “We are enormously pleased about Jeff Koons’ eagerly anticipated contribution to the BMW Art Car series, celebrating its 35th anniversary. Art Cars are part of the DNA of BMW’s cultural engagement. As manifested in Koons’ latest sculptural work, what unites us is the belief that nothing is impossible. Our company and Jeff Koons are drawn to permanent innovation and cutting-edge technology.”
above: Jeff Koons (right)with celebrated architect Richard Meier (left) at the party celebrating the announcement that Jeff Koons will create the 17th BMW Art Car at Koons‘ Manhattan studio, Tuesday, February 2, 2010.
It’s fairly well known that BMW has commissioned 16 Art Cars over the last four decades. The cars have toured museums around the world, including the Louvre in Paris, the Royal Academy in London, the Whitney Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Palazzo Grassi in Venice, the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney and at the Guggenheim museums in New York and Bilbao.
Four of them, by the artists Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Frank Stella and Robert Rauschenberg, appeared at Grand Central Terminal in New York for two weeks in March of 2009. Those pieces (shown below) are part of a collection of 16 cars, from a 635CSi to an M1, that BMW has turned over to artists to re-imagine since 1975.
Here are the other 12.
Jenny Holzer, V12 LMR, 1999. Her Le Mans Roadster includes aphorisms like “The Unattainable Is Invariably Attractive.”:
Photographs © BMW AG
above Left: David Hockney painting Art Car 1995, BMW 850 CSi; above right: Jenny Holzer signing Art Car 1999, BMW V12 LMR
The final and 16th art car of the series thus far; Olafur Eliasson, H2R, 2007. He turned BMW’s hydrogen-powered race car into an Art Car on ice (this one has to be kept in a refrigerated room, for obvious reasons):
The Process – Installation view Studio Olafur Eliasson, Commissioned by BMW Group:
© Olafur Eliasson and BMW Group
Miniature replicas of all of these cars (except for the Olafur Eliasson one) are available for purchase here.