Join 3,438 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


My other car is a minimalist
February 8, 2010 3:52 AM   Subscribe

Jeff Koons joins other modern artists Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Frank Stella in treating BMW cars as a canvas for art.

All the BMW art cars. (Previously, with lots of dead links.)
posted by twoleftfeet (34 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
BMW has been producing it's own art for decades.
posted by NoMich at 4:02 AM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I see the first one was done by Alexander Calder, who was also known to paint the occasional airplane.

Nice post!
posted by TedW at 4:03 AM on February 8, 2010


Roy Lichetenstein made his paintings from the crummiest comics he could find and held the entire medium up for ridicule. He isn't one tenth the artist Jack Kirby was, and nowhere near as important either. Fuck Roy Lichtenstein.
posted by Scoo at 4:35 AM on February 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


is it my mistake, or is BMW running out of art-stars to paint their cars? Koons is so 1987 and really a conceptual/performance artist, rather than a painter.

(BMW is going to be really disappointed when he creates an inflatable car body from one of their cars and then casts it in chrome.)

The'80's produced both Oliver Stone's 'Wall Street' and Koons' career. Koons is the artist version of Godon Gekko, conspicuous consumption and all.

I'm not sure BMW realized what they were getting into when they picked him for this project.
posted by vhsiv at 5:01 AM on February 8, 2010


Wow, scoo. Thank God they didn't have a Rob Liefeld car, it probably would have given you a stroke.
posted by HopperFan at 5:06 AM on February 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


Wow, scoo. Thank God they didn't have a Rob Liefeld car, it probably would have given you a stroke.

Think of the pouches! Gun mounted guns covering the hood, smoke machines mounted in place of the wheels, 10 ponytails hooked to the bumper and katanas whirling, whirling, whirling toward AWESOME.
posted by stavrogin at 5:16 AM on February 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


Oh sorry, I was looking for the Oprah/Letterman/Leno thing. Wrong clusterfuck.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:18 AM on February 8, 2010


And all of the guns must have at least three barrels for no discernible reason!
posted by HopperFan at 5:21 AM on February 8, 2010


I've always liked the idea of BMW's art cars, especially the ones that actually got raced. I run hot-and-cold on Koons, so I'll take a wait-and-see attitude here, though I'm not hopeful. At least this comes long after Chris Bangle left BMW. I'm not sure I could survive the a Bangle/Koons bimmer. Yikes!
posted by Thorzdad at 5:21 AM on February 8, 2010


is it my mistake, or is BMW running out of art-stars to paint their cars? Koons is so 1987

They have to wait until an artists is quite bland and no longer anywhere near cutting edge. The Matthew Barney car is still a good twenty years off.
posted by piratebowling at 5:24 AM on February 8, 2010


He's such a corporate whore, really.

I mean, Jeff Koons' greatest contribution to art is to show that as long as you spend 8/10 on PR and the rest of the time finding clever, cheap people to produce stuff you can pass off as art, anyone can be an artist.

At some point things will go full circle and Koons will be encouraged to customise toilet paper bioactively by a paper company so that mere mortals can behold his artistic prowess and we can all bathe in the glow of corporate generosity to the arts.
posted by MuffinMan at 5:26 AM on February 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


"He's such a corporate whore, really."

Doesn't this make Koons the most perfect candidate for this BMW project? How about a Kinkade car? Woo!
posted by HopperFan at 5:28 AM on February 8, 2010


> They have to wait until an artists is quite bland and no longer anywhere near cutting edge.

That fails to explain the lack of a Thomas Kinkade BMW.
posted by ardgedee at 5:29 AM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Koons is so 1987 and really a conceptual/performance artist, rather than a painter.

Yeah but it takes about 20 years for art ideas to penetrate that far up an organization like BMW.

That fails to explain the lack of a Thomas Kinkade BMW.

Can you imagine the lighting system? It would blind everyone at the unveiling - leading Kinkade to found a new cult of the Unseeing Eye.
posted by The Whelk at 5:32 AM on February 8, 2010


Wow, scoo. Thank God they didn't have a Rob Liefeld car, it probably would have given you a stroke.

Think of the pouches! Gun mounted guns covering the hood, smoke machines mounted in place of the wheels, 10 ponytails hooked to the bumper and katanas whirling, whirling, whirling toward AWESOME.


There would be no gas, clutch or brake pedals in a Rob Liefield car.
posted by Scoo at 6:21 AM on February 8, 2010


The Matthew Barney car *shiver*
posted by From Bklyn at 6:21 AM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


The BMW art cars rock and you can suck it, haters. Koons sucks as an artist? No, sorry and history will bear this out. He churns it out His studio churns it out but he works hard as shit, and with honesty and intelligence and about once every five years he knocks it out of the park - which is a fine record for an artist.

What I want to see is the Richard Prince art car.
Or James Turrell's.
posted by From Bklyn at 6:28 AM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Matthew Barney car

It's a regular car, but it's full of whale oil.



And a woman who screams uncontrollably.
posted by The Whelk at 6:30 AM on February 8, 2010


Roy Lichetenstein made his paintings from the crummiest comics he could find and held the entire medium up for ridicule. He isn't one tenth the artist Jack Kirby was, and nowhere near as important either. Fuck Roy Lichtenstein.

I'm not going to challenge the fact that he set comics back - although I don't believe it was intentional antagonism - but the part about Jack Kirby (whom I respect more than I can express) is akin to saying that Kandinsky wasn't half the artist Michelangelo was. Or that Warhol's Brillo boxes pale compared to Rodin's sculptures. Robbing a work of its context to compare it to another work misses the point entirely.
posted by griphus at 6:46 AM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


MJ and Bubbles was kinda funny but since then he's just been phoning it in. That combined with what I perceive as a real cynicism toward his audience and the pretentious mumbo-jumbo he tries to pass off as an artist statement, just makes me go "pffft".

I guess I'd rather have my postmodernism served up more David Byrne style.

And a big company commissioning established artists is not exactly world changing. I kinda like the Warhol and Stella cars though.
posted by mr.ersatz at 6:47 AM on February 8, 2010


>Fuck Roy Lichtenstein.

I used to not get RL. Then I realized that each painting was a little exercise he set himself to demonstrate some concept: perspective, motion, sound (what's not to like about this?). The BMW car is an exercise in portraying velocity in black, white and yellow and dots. It's kind of obvious, but that might be because we've accepted the conventions of cartoon pictorial art so thoroughly that the car might as well say "ZOOM". Those conventions were what Lichtenstein explored in his early work; later, he explored other conventions of art. His early work is well-represented online, but his later work less so. I'd never seen that work before, but it's about how you use crosshatching. I like it. And there's this, which comes with its own study guide
posted by acrasis at 7:04 AM on February 8, 2010


The'80's produced both Oliver Stone's 'Wall Street' and Koons' career. Koons is the artist version of Godon Gekko, conspicuous consumption and all.

I'm not sure BMW realized what they were getting into when they picked him for this project.


I'm sure a luxury car company would hate to be associated with conspicuous consumption.
posted by atrazine at 7:19 AM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Michael Jackson and Bubbles hood ornament is going to be boss!
posted by munchingzombie at 7:57 AM on February 8, 2010


Yes, HURF DURF MODREN ART SUX and so forth, but I really don't think that Lichtenstein was trying to do anything remotely like what Kirby was doing, and the tiny sections of comics that he re-did for his paintings is hardly the wholesale appropriation that you still see in comics today, where artists--some of them well-known and highly-paid--copy entire page layouts from other artists, and not as an obvious homage, either, or simply trace over reference photographs. (Greg Land, who started out as a pretty good original artist, is notorious for the latter, as well as reusing his own work.) If you're going to smack someone around for exploiting Kirby, you can pretty much start and end with Stan Lee. Start with Lichtenstein using a panel from some old war comic, and pretty soon you're getting on Beethoven's case for stealing Ode to Joy from Friedrich Schiller.

No love for Jeff Koons, though. Anyone who works in almost any art form has probably run across some clown who has A Great Idea for a (movie, song, clay pot, whatever) and will generously share the proceeds 50/50 with the artist, who is expected to do the bulk of the work. Koons is someone who actually made that scam work, probably having to do more with his past as a commodities broker and his penchant for self-publicity, for example his relationship with la Cicciolina. About the only way that his work has benefited society is that he's soaked some rich suckers.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:00 AM on February 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Matthew Barney car *shiver*

Fuck Roy Lichtenstein.

Koons is so 1987.


Just think how angry the MeFi ArtPartol will be with the 2018 Bansky BMW....
posted by 1f2frfbf at 8:15 AM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, I'm surprised no one has mentioned the Merzcar.
"A while ago I had a Mercedes 230 that I didn't drive much. The police told me that I had to move it or they'd tow it away. Well, I didn't want to keep it and I didn't have anywahere to store it so I decided to use it for something else. I rigged the car's CD player with our latest release of Merzbow's "Noise Embryo" CD so that the music started when the car was turned on and it was impossible to turn it off. I put it up for sale as an extremely limited edition of the "Noise Embryo" CD but no one ever bought it, and in the end the car broke down. So we took out the CD and got rid of the car. Now I'm thinking about if it's possible to release a record in a Boeing 747..."
posted by griphus at 8:19 AM on February 8, 2010


That Andy Warhol one is butt ugly
posted by delmoi at 8:33 AM on February 8, 2010


I'd drive a Takashi Murikami. That would be awesome.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:52 AM on February 8, 2010


I like art cars. Thanks for the link.
posted by box at 10:41 AM on February 8, 2010


Roy Lichetenstein made his paintings from the crummiest comics he could find and held the entire medium up for ridicule. He isn't one tenth the artist Jack Kirby was, and nowhere near as important either. Fuck Roy Lichtenstein.

Not only do I not think that was ever his point, but you're missing a whole, whole lot if you think he had only one point over the course of his career. Kirby and Lichtenstein weren't even... that statement has no... So Galileo wasn't nearly the astronomer Neil Armstrong was? Charles Schultz wasn't the poet that Shakespeare was? Tangentially related, but completely meaningless.

So, Murakami passes, but Koons doesn't? Their processes are identical. Plus, yes, Koons paints. His work isn't purely conceptual. It always looks good, and he does literal paint-on-canvas paintings too.

A tangent about Lichtenstein:
I used to not get him either. I was just kinda like, "So he does comic panels. Okay." I wasn't mad about it, but not turned on by it either. But it's a lot more than that, and he's one that doesn't come off in reproductions at all. I'm not really sure that he was ever concerned with the appropriation aspect in the way that Prince or Koons were at times. It seems to me that he was concerned with the nature of reproduction. I got to see the SFMOMA retrospective, which included some lesser known Lichtensteins... typically styles pictures of mirrors and a sculture of the same and it struck me (probably partially because this is close to what I'm concerned with in my own work) how these perfectly accurate and representational pictures broke down into pattern and abstraction so readily. It was glaring in those, but it carries over to the rest with the reproduced dots and later with the heavy pattern and line weight that fails to clarify things much.
posted by cmoj at 12:45 PM on February 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Great post!

I will be sharing these links with my grandkids -- they have almost run out of room on my Toyota

--- anyone got a spare BMW???
posted by Surfurrus at 12:52 PM on February 8, 2010


The Matthew Barney car *shiver*

Fuck Roy Lichtenstein.

Koons is so 1987.

Just think how angry the MeFi ArtPartol will be with the 2018 Bansky BMW....


With the amount of fun I've had/time wasting I've done looking at MeFi archives, I can't believe I've never imagined having the ability to look at posts from the future before. (When you start playing 'fantasty MetaFilter' in your head, perhaps you read the site too much.)


That said, to put us back on track, (slightly) dismissing Lichtenstein as they guy who dissed comics with certain paintings is like saying Hitchcock is the guy who made people afraid to shower. Sure that might have happened with his most famous work, but it's totally missing the point of not just that work but also dismissing lots of other (much better) work too.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:17 PM on February 8, 2010


So, Murakami passes, but Koons doesn't?

I'm not sure what you're on about, as I think I'm the only one who mentioned Murakami.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:37 PM on February 8, 2010


Jeff Koons can paint my scrotum.
posted by borges at 9:23 PM on February 8, 2010


« Older You dig this Canto para Shango? Well then, you mig...  |  Do not be alarmed! Salt substi... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments