Inspiring art is one thing. Fast cars are another. Put them together and you have an exhilarating combination that sparks the senses to new dimensions.
Le Mans, the race
Held in France, Le Mans is a 24-hour endurance race. The world famous event has been occurring annually since 1923, commanding both the fastest cars and the best drivers from around the world.
Art, the new element
The race in 1975 added the element of art in the BMW entry that ran that year. The very first design for BMW’s Art Car program was the creation of artist Alexander Calder. Other artists followed, including Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein, and pop artist, Andy Warhol, whose design appeared on the last BMW Art Car to compete in Le Mans. The year was 1979.
Jeff Koons, the artist
So, along comes Jeff Koons, an American pop artist from York, Pennsylvania. Googlers will recognize his 3D designs expressed, from time to time, as the search engine’s logo. Koons expressed a desire to produce the art for BMW’s 17th Art Car for this year’s Le Mans, its BMW M3 GT2. He got the job of designing the artwork for BMW’s entry in the 2010 race at Le Mans.
Car films, the medium
The design would reflect the excitement, speed, sheer power and energy of acceleration of the car in this incredible race. Koons had ideas about how to capture these concepts in art on a car moving fast. Because the BMW M3 GT2 was a bona fide competitor in the race, it would not consider compromises to its light weight and aerodynamic profile. Koons’ artful answer fell to films.
The design would be printed on a laminate of vinyl, similar to clear and tinted films used to customize cars. The flat two-dimensional design would take on the three dimensional curves of the BMW racer. Once applied, the bold design exploded with the power of dimensionality and color intensity. Add to that the speed of a fast moving vehicle around the circuit and you have incredible art in motion in a race that’s heart-thumping to begin with. Koons use of the car-wrap technique delivered the art in splendid form.
Le Mans, the 2010 event
Le Mans went on as scheduled on June 12-13, 2010, with the BMW’s Art Car in the race. Fuel gauge problems precluded it from finishing. The good news is that the M3 GT2 is still in one piece and its artwork intact. The car that competed but did not complete at Le Mans will be driving the world’s museum circuit.
Jeff Koons design, the Art Car from BMW
Coming soon to a museum near you, look for the BMW that will stun you with its speed while standing still. It’s all in the art!
Peter Richter, “Art Car No. XVII by Jeff Koons,” BMW Magazine, Issue 2/2010, pp 46-57.