[6] Rahal Bmw In Weekly Discuss

BMW has pulled the sheet off the Jeff Koons art car and we have to say we like it. A lot.

Our own Tony Borroz, who knows quite a lot about art, mercilessly beat up on Koons when BMW announced he'd be joining the likes of Ernst Fuchs, Roy Lichtenstein and Frank Stella in designing one of the company's famed art cars. Borroz called Koons a "talent-bereft hack" and quoted Mark Stevens of The New Republic, who once called Koons “another of those who serve the tacky rich.”

Turns out Koons did a very nice job.

First, a little history. Bayerische Motoren Werke has since 1975 occasionally invited artists to use its cars as canvases. The result has been some striking vehicles, like the M1 Group 4 racer Andy Warhol painted in 1979, by some immensely talented people. The collection had grown to 17 BMW Art Cars before BMW tapped Koons to paint a BMW M3 GTS that will compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 12.

Koons collected and studied pictures of race cars and explosions and joined the BMW Rahal Letterman Racing team for a few laps at Sebring. He then drew from a palette of bright colors. The bold streaks make the car look fast even when sitting still.

"These race cars are lifelike, they are powerful and there is a lot of energy," Koons said in a statement. "You can participate with it, add to it and let yourself transcend with its energy. 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."

That theme continues out back, where blasting debris surrounded by two circles evoke supersonic acceleration.

The design isn't actually painted on the car; it's a vinyl wrap covered with two layers of clear coat. BMW says the wrap was lighter than paint and it could be applied much more quickly. That was a key consideration because Koons had just two months to complete the project.

Designing the vinyl wrap required translating the car's CAD designs from 3-D to 2-D for printing, then applying the vinyl to the bodywork and various spare parts. We've got a friend who has an E30 M3 that would look great done up like this.

Koons has wanted to design an art car since 2003, when he first approached BMW about the idea. BMW gave him the nod earlier this year, and the car was unveiled Tuesday at Centre Pompidou in Paris, the same place where Lichtenstein unveiled his art car in 1977.

Photos: BMW

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