Jeff Koons Brings His Neo-Pop Aesthetic to BMW’s 8 Series
THE 8 X JEFF KOONS, a special edition of the BMW M850i xDrive Gran Coupé, launches this week on the occasion of Frieze Los Angeles.
Jeff Koons is back in the driver’s seat.
The famed American artist, known for his colorful, shiny, cartoonishly oversized sculptures, has teamed up with German luxury automaker BMW for a second time, to design his “dream car:” THE 8 X JEFF KOONS, a special edition of the BMW M850i xDrive Gran Coupé. The edition makes its world premiere this week on the occasion of Frieze Los Angeles, where BMW is a long-term partner.
The Koons-designed 8 Series Gran Coupé sports a striking, 11-color paint job with Neo-Pop art imagery, including explosions, puffs of smoke, and comic book-style speech bubbles that scream “POP!” (literally). Inside, the luxury sedan features superhero-inspired red and blue leather seats and a cup holder panel engraved with the artist’s signature.
“It is sporty and flashy as well as minimalist and conceptual,” Koons said in a statement from the automaker. BMW described it as “the most elaborately designed vehicle” in its history. The exterior paint alone takes over 200 hours of work to apply onto a single car.
BMW is producing 99 of the Koons-designed vehicles. One of the cars is headed to auction at Christie’s in New York City on April 4, with proceeds to benefit the artist’s chosen charity, the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children.
This marks the second collaboration between the artist and the automaker. In 2010, Koons designed a vibrant BMW M3 GT2 race car as part of the company’s long-standing Art Car legacy, following in the footsteps of Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Robert Rauschenberg. Since 1975, BMW has commissioned a total of 19 Art Cars.
“It was such an honor in the past, when I was invited to create an Art Car for BMW, and it was one of the thrilling moments of my life to be able to see the car race at Le Mans,” Koons said during an exclusive event last September at Munich’s Pinakothek der Moderne, where the artist presented the first glimpses of his newest BMW design. “And I’m also really thrilled and honored at the opportunity now to work with BMW again and to create a special-edition car designed by myself.”
At the time, Koons explained his latest concept as a meditation on “the essence of power,” both in terms of the vehicle itself and the people who will be sitting behind the wheel. He questioned “how to create something that exemplifies all the energy of the BMW 8 Series and is also able to touch upon the human element.”
The artist spent many days on-site at BMW’s factory in Dingolfing, Germany, hammering out the design specifications with the company’s production team.
“Working with Jeff Koons again has inspired us all,” Olivier Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Management at BMW AG, said in a statement from the automaker. “Never before in the history of our company has a BMW been created with such an extensive design effort as THE 8 X JEFF KOONS—a ‘rolling sculpture’ that will not only be displayed as a coveted collector’s item in museums, but also allowed to flourish on the road as a genuine BMW.”
The company plans to showcase the new 8 Series at upcoming art fairs and events around the world, including the 16th Istanbul Contemporary, Paris Photo, Art Dubai, and Art Basel Hong Kong. Koons, meanwhile, has his own plans for the car. “I can’t wait to drive it,” he said.
Visit @bmwgroupculture to follow the reveal.
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