Jeff Koons has become the latest artist to participate in the historic BMW Art Car project. He joins a stellar list to include Alexander Calder, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg and John Baldessari (to name a few), who have painted BMW cars as their canvasses since the project’s inception in 1975. used as. Koons is using the BMW M850i xDrive Gran Coupé as his base. And unlike previous years, the 8X Jeff Koons project will be made in limited numbers and sold as a collector’s edition following its global premiere at the art fair Frieze Los Angeles in February 2022.
This will be the second time Koons has worked on the BMW Art Car project. His 2010 M3 GT2 Art Car was a riot of colors and performed at the 24 Hours of Le Mans Race. I remember meeting the artist at the Pompidou Center in Paris after the car was in front. Then, Koons wanted to convey the power of the race car. “When the car isn’t racing, when you go around this art car, it has to make reference to the power under the hood,” he told me. This time their focus has been somewhat developed keeping in mind the concerns of today – primarily the arts and crafts of making. “I was thinking about it very seriously,” he explains. “What is the essence of the 8 Series Gran Coupe? What is the essence of power? How to create something that exemplifies all the energy of the BMW 8 Series that is also capable of touching the human element?”
The result is 8X Jeff Koons. The energetic design is a nod to the pop art for which the artist is known, while the geometric patterns reference the shape of the sporty 8 Series Gran Coupe. The concept focuses on refinement and craft, with the multi-layer paint taking 285 hours to apply to each car. The design combines eleven different exterior colors ranging from blue to silver as well as yellow to black. The multi-colored interior features high-end materials, fine leather, and a cupholder lid and artist’s engraved signature. The seats are made from the classic red and blue colors of the marque’s high-performance BMW M division.
“It is a great pleasure to be working again with Jeff Koons to jointly create something truly special,” says BMW Group Head of Design, Adrian van Hooydonk. “He is one of the greatest artists of our time and one of the most inspiring and fascinating human beings to work with.”
The BMW Art Car Project began life in 1975 when racing driver Hervé Pollen casually asked his artist friend Alexander Calder to paint a 3.0 CSL, which he drove later that year at Le Mans and so the series was born. Since then, paintbrushes from some of the most notable names in art history have influenced BMW race cars, one of which (Olafur Eliasson’s H2R hydrogen car) is competing on the international racing scene.
The 8X Jeff Koons also celebrates 50 years of BMW’s cultural engagement. Through BMW Art & Culture, the carmaker works with artists, designers and cultural institutions from around the world and includes the London Symphony Orchestra, Art Basel, Frise Art and Art d’Egypt. It may sound like an odd way to sell cars, but what BMW benefits from this exchange is its fusion of art and ideas – elements of which will naturally be incorporated into the thinking within the organization. “We love the art and bold voices of our time,” explains Van Hoydonk. “Our passion is spirit and being able to work together again with Jeff Koons has been an extraordinary source of inspiration. Who better artist to collaborate on the 8 Series Gran Coupe? The car draws inspiration from design art and engineering And turns it into highly emotional experiences.”
The cars are now being produced at a secret location at the BMW Group Plant Dingolfing, Bavaria, with only two cars being produced each week.