BMW AG announced American artist Jeff Koons is creating a limited edition of the M850i xDrive Gran Coupe that will debut at Frieze Los Angeles, Feb. 17, 2022 at a site adjacent to the Beverly Hilton Hotel, in Beverly Hills, California.
The vehicle, called the “8 x Jeff Koons,” will remain on display for three days.
The collaboration with Koons is the first since the artist and automaker collaborated on a BMW M3 GT2 Art Car in 2010, a car that raced at the 24 Hours of Le Mans that same year. The results led rock singer Bono from U2 to write an Op-Ed piece in The New York Times that Koons should have a part in designing the car of the future.
It’s taken more than a decade, but the Koons and BMW are collaborating once again. The limited edition M850i xDrive Gran Coupe Art Car will go on sale after its debut early next year.
Back together again
“Ever since we relaunched our collaboration, Jeff has said that he’s proud to be back with the BMW family,” said Oliver Zipse, chairman of the Board for BMW AG, in a statement. “The 8 Series Gran Coupe is very close to our hearts and Jeff’s design of the car is full of joy and passion.”
Given that Koons’ work uses pop culture artifacts, including toys and advertising, that at once celebrates and criticizes kitschy suburban culture, it takes a brave corporate culture to associate with such an artist. Yet Koons’ vision is a continuation of the work pioneered by conceptual artist Marcel Duchamp in the early twentieth century.
“To be able to work closely with Jeff Koons again has been an extraordinary source of inspiration. What better artist to collaborate with on the 8 Series Gran Coupe?” said Adrian van Hooydonk, head of BMW Group Design, in a statement.
Mum’s the word
For his part, Koons isn’t revealing much, beyond the inspiration for what’s coming.
“I was thinking very intensely about it: 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 able to touch upon the human element,” Koons said in a statement.
BMW is staying mum as well, beyond saying that it takes 285 hours to apply the multi-layer paint job to each car. Given Koons’ style, the car will no doubt be colorful, as it uses 11 different hues, from black, blue and silver to yellow. The multi-colored interior will be vibrant as well, with blue and red seats, offset with high-end materials, fine leather and special edition badging with the artist’s engraved signature. No wonder only two cars will be produced each week. Nevertheless, the company did not state how many would be created.
Previous BMW Art Cars include those created by Alexander Calder, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, John Baldessari and Esther Mahlangu, and are currently being displayed at the Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich’s museum of contemporary art.