Jeff Koons on the BMW Art car

Jeff Koons has created an art car, the BMW M3 GT2, that raced at 24-hour Le Mans this month. The pop artist is following in the footsteps of the likes of David Hockney, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, Andy Warhol, to name a few on this collaboration scheme that started in 1975.

For BMW working with famous artists like Koons is not only a great marketing exercise but also as design director Adrian van Hooydonk told us it ‘gives you a feedback from society’. He explained: ‘Modern art is more so than ever part of popular culture – in many ways it is a mirror to society. It’s therefore good to hear that they believe in what we do.’

I met up with Jeff Koons as he unveiled BMW’s 17th art car project at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

DT The car feels like one big ejaculation of energy. What was the thought process behind your work?
JK It was about creating visual speed. I wanted to make visual the raw dynamism, the power and the vitality of the car. The car’s biological narrative is to perform. So I wanted to show this power.

DT How did you translate that power?
JK These race cars are like life, they are powerful and there is a lot of energy. You can participate with it, add to it and let yourself transcend with its energy. There is a lot of power under that hood and I want to let my ideas transcend with the car – it’s really to connect with that power. When the car is not racing, when the viewer walks around this art car, the car is constantly making reference to the power underneath the hood of that car.

DT Did you have a nickname for the car when creating it?
JK I thought of many nicknames like raw energy but if you put a name on it you can limit its development. If you don’t give it a name then you leave it open until that millisecond before creation. Instead it was different interpretations of energy.

DT How have you continued a dialogue with the other art cars?
JK I had a desire to participate. When I was younger I wanted to have my works sit beside Calder, Lichtenstein, Stella and Warhol, and to be in the company of the others. This is why I am probably here today as I wanted to have this shared ground with them.  In terms of a dialogue there is one that goes back and forth, but what exact vocabulary that’s being created amongst the cars I don’t know. I’ll need to see them grouped together.

DT How do you value this experience?
JK It is about painting your own fantasy. The car is about the creation of life. It is a reference to that moment right before the creation

Nargess Shahmanesh Banks

Read more on on the car and what BMW’s design boss Adrian van Hooydonk had to say about it in my article published in Car Design News.

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