Jeff Koons is the latest artist to work with BMW on limited-edition collectable art cars


Jeff Koons is creating a limited-edition collectable car collection for BMW. The American artist is using the M850i Gran Coupé as his canvas, with the ‘8X Jeff Koons’ cars to be revealed at Frieze Los Angeles in February 2022 and thereafter sold as collector’s editions. See the full story here.

Images (c) Enes Kucevic Jeff Koons/BMW AG

Top car creative partnerships of 2018: Art, design and architecture

Car cultural collaborations have to be relevant to our time and to the brand, otherwise they can feel a touch ornamental. As the industry dips its toes ever-deeper into the creative world, eager to build brands based on not just vehicle sales but offering a broader lifestyle, here are my top art, design and creative collaborations of 2018.

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Meet the virtual BMW Art Car by Chinese artist Cao Fei

BMW Art Car #18 by Chinese multimedia artist Cao Fei takes the iconic series into the 21st century by going digital – through both virtual and augmented reality, inviting the viewer to participate and transform the M6 GT3 racecar into a living sculpture before racing at Macau in November.

I go behind the scenes to meet the artist and see how her BMW Art Car reflects the next life of the automobile. Read the full story here.


BMW cultural manager Thomas Girst on arts sponsorship

Art and money have always had a mutually seductive rapport. Artists need the patronage of industry, industry benefits greatly from the positive kudos this union can bring. The truth is big art projects are costly and unless governments fully fund cultural activities, galleries and museums will need to engaged with corporate capital.

The outcome can be intriguing if the relationship is balanced, and crucially if the sponsor allows the artist and creative to do their thing, which can be tricky when you’re dealing with big corporations such as car companies.

I met with Thomas Girst, BMW’s cultural manager since 2004. He is charge of the marque numerous artistic ventures including Tate Modern Live, the Art Journey initiative with Art Basel and the classic Art Car project, which for 2017 explores two very different concepts – minimalism and virtual and augmented reality with two equally different artists, the celebrated Californian John Baldessari and Chinese digital artist Cao Fei.

Read the full interview here

Nargess Banks

Read my interview with Jeff Koons discussing his art car here

Design Talks | The Textile Building | 29a Chatham Place | London | E9 6FJ | UK
Design Talks is published by Spinach Design
All rights and labelled images are covered by ©

Meet the Sir Peter Blake Pop Art car

Bentley’s first pop art car is a playful collage of bright blue, yellow and pink with a bold red heart-shape at its centre, multi-coloured leather seats and pink gear leaver designed by Sir Peter Blake and created by the skilled engineers and artisan Mulliner team at the Crewe factory.

We are at the London auction house Bonhams to meet the pioneer of British pop art and witness the car’s debut. Based on the 200mph Continental GT V8 S Convertible, this Bentley by Blake is due to be auctioned off in June at the Goodwood Festival of Speed to benefit the charitable work of the Care2Save.

It took four months to conceive the car. Blake says candidly: ‘When I was first asked to do this car, in my mind I declined. I thought why mess up a perfect object. I tried to keep the dignity of the car, but also make it decorative.’

Initially Blake imagined a band of images wrapped around the car. ‘I wasn’t quite sure how the finish would be resolved – the process was far more complicated than I had imagined,’ he says.

So he reduced his design ‘We simplified and simplified and simplified it,’ he smiled, ‘so we ended up with these basic colours with a heart on the bonnet, and different colour leather seats in the interior.’

The bespoke St Luke’s Blue – created by Blake as homage to the carmaker’s Cheshire hospice – dominates the rear haunches, doors and boot lid, whilst the artist’s bold characteristic St James Red heart symbol is hand-painted on the yellow bonnet. There is a contrasting fuchsia pink radiator grille surround, with the lower body finished in British racing green.

Inside, each leather seat is trimmed in different shade of hides, with the colours echoed on the steering wheel topped with a pink leather gear lever. The storage cases feature a Piano Black veneer outer treatment with added yellow and red internal linings to reflect the bonnet colour theme. The ‘No. 1 of 1’ labelled treadplate signifies that this is a one-off Sir Peter Blake design.

Blake has also created a personalised playlist, all of which are tongue-and-cheek car themed – Pink Cadillac, Route 66, Drive in Saturday, Mustang Sally, Road to Nowhere, to name some – and, not surprisingly, includes a number of tracks by The Beatles for which he famously designed the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover.

‘I have enormous admiration for the people at Bentley who brought my design into being,’ says Blake, ‘and to produce this one-off lovely car. I am very excited to be seeing the car.’

Nargess Banks

Design Talks | The Textile Building | 29a Chatham Place | London | E9 6FJ | UK
Design Talks is published by Spinach Design
All rights and labelled images are covered by ©