Jeff Koons unveiled his garish take on the BMW “Art Car” at a Centre Pompidou ceremony in Paris Wednesday evening. The car is decked out with psychedelic vinyl and will participate in the 24-hour Le Mans race later this month – something that hasn’t happened since Andy Warhol offered his interpretation of brand in 1979.
As the 17th artist to create such a promotional car, Koons joins the ranks of Warhol (who handpainted his), Alexander Calder, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg and David Hockney. Koons said he primarily took up the task to create a dialogue with those artists, though his involvement in the project has not always led to that association. At the press conference announcing his designs for the car, one person apparently noted that he “looks like one of the car executives!”
“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,” Koons said. Maybe so, but he must realize that he’s hardly the first person to put “racing” and “stripes” together. We prefer the earlier models, which were on display at Grand Central last year.