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It didn't turn out minimalist
August 12, 2010 12:26 PM   Subscribe

And it doesn't suck. The Jeff Koons BMW art car is out. Here's Wired's take on it, and Autoblog with a little piece of video from the unveiling.

Despite some concern before the unveiling, the car seems to have been pretty well received. The art works well with the actual race car concept, perhaps in contrast to some past versions (Lichtenstein's looks pretty speedy, though). Unlike past cars, the art was designed in CAD, printed on vinyl, applied to the chassis and then covered with clear-coat (Koons worked with BMW to ensure that it wouldn't affect the aerodynamics). Here's a brief clip from BMW covering the cars, and a site featuring images of each car.

Also, Jeff Koons as a passenger at Sebring. The actual art car, piloted at Le Mans this year by Andy Priaulx, Dirk Müller, and Dirk Werner, completed 53 laps (DNF). The other BMW team placed 19th.

This is an update of this previous post, but the subject was also covered here.
posted by Nabubrush (56 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
I would have liked this better if it was shaped like a balloon dog.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:29 PM on August 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


That's actually really great. Very dynamic. The rear makes me think of his photo of Cicciolina's Asshole (at work, so I can't link for you, but Google it).

I think he nailed it. (Which one? Both! Badaboom.)
posted by Admiral Haddock at 12:33 PM on August 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's the first thing he's done that doesn't suck, IMO.
posted by rocket88 at 12:43 PM on August 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


When you're speeding, it's just plain white and everything else looks like that.
posted by hermitosis at 12:45 PM on August 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's a bunch of pick up sticks.
posted by Gator at 12:51 PM on August 12, 2010


I want to like these, but all I can think about is stupid limited edition sneakers with shitty designs by graffiti 'artists' on them.
posted by beerbajay at 12:54 PM on August 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


the art was designed in CAD, printed on vinyl, applied to the chassis and then covered with clear-coat (Koons worked with BMW to ensure that it wouldn't affect the aerodynamics).

I like the way they say that to try and make it sound clever. Despite the fact that the vast majority of racing cars have their colour schemes produced in CAD drawn vinyl stickers (either over base paint colours or even the entire colour scheme itself in one big wrap) with or without a top layer of lacquer. It's bog standard technology that has been around for many years. It doesn't affect the aerodynamics on the other tens of thousands of cars that use this technique either.

Interestingly, for a post about a car's colour scheme, it was pretty damn hard to find any decent pictures of the car itself here. That was disappointing, and 5 minutes on wikipedia links isn't really filling the gaps for a story 2 months after the unveiling. Shame.
posted by Brockles at 12:56 PM on August 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


The rear makes me think of his photo of Cicciolina's Asshole

This is probably the best automotive-related sentence I'm ever going to read.
posted by Skot at 12:57 PM on August 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


I like it. It's kitschy and goofy, and it makes the car look like frivolous fun. Of course, if you're the sort of person who takes cars seriously, I can understand why you'd hate it.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:01 PM on August 12, 2010


shitty designs by graffiti 'artists'

Oh you did not.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:02 PM on August 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


"it was pretty damn hard to find any decent pictures of the car itself here"

Really? Did you click the "Wired's Take" link?
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 1:02 PM on August 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Brockles: yo check it out!
http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=jeff+koons+bmw

Since it wasn't pink stainless steel, I don't care.
posted by nutate at 1:05 PM on August 12, 2010


@Brockles
3rd link to Wired's Take has numerous images from every angle you could desire in all kinds of fancy lighting.
posted by KingoftheWhales at 1:08 PM on August 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I love when people reject the artistic merits of something based on their preconceptions of the medium. Damn those kids and their garish sneakers emblazoned with graffitis. Shoes are for wearing not for watching! That guy just draws fancy letters and stylized figures? what does he take himself for? a typographist? that's not even a word! A Painter? if picking up colors and choosing a canvas makes you a painter, hell, I'd be a painter!
posted by KingoftheWhales at 1:13 PM on August 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


Meh. I've seen art cars, and these are no art cars.
posted by mullingitover at 1:13 PM on August 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


Brockles, I guess my point was unclear. In stark contrast to the Koons car, BMW's other art cars have been hand painted by the artists mentioned. Maybe that makes this sort of disappointing, in that they aren't done by hand anymore - I'm not sure. Sorry for whatever it was here you didn't like.
posted by Nabubrush at 1:16 PM on August 12, 2010


And it doesn't suck.

Your mileage may vary.

Although, after looking at the rest of the series, it's a relative masterpiece.
posted by ecurtz at 1:21 PM on August 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I DON'T LIKE THAT PAINTY CAR.
posted by everichon at 1:28 PM on August 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


This sucks. It's not even an art car...it's just a regular BMW race car with a wacky paint job. These are art cars. Get it straight.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:28 PM on August 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


They all look kinda crappy, though, don't they? The paint is such a small part of what makes a car pretty. Now if they'd had the artists design the shape of the car, in addition to the coloring, you might be on to something. Of course, chances are none of them would be drivable. But this whole project is like putting a fancy screened T-shirt on a racehorse. Each might be beautiful in its own context, but the whole is less than the sum of its parts.
posted by echo target at 1:31 PM on August 12, 2010


It has been brought to my attention that the original Wired article (some concern, above) is by MetaFilter's own Relay.
posted by Nabubrush at 1:32 PM on August 12, 2010


In stark contrast to the Koons car, BMW's other art cars have been hand painted by the artists mentioned. Maybe that makes this sort of disappointing, in that they aren't done by hand anymore - I'm not sure.

Koons isn't really a painter. He's much more of a designer (in terms of actual what-role-he-plays-in-creation, not in terms of artistic merit or medium or whatever), and a lot of his stuff is conceptual and made in a factory. Jeff Koons hand-painting a car wouldn't be a Jeff Koons piece.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:38 PM on August 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm sorry, no. I would call a car Thomas Kinkade vomited on an "art car" before I called this one.

This is bad high-school in the 80's graphic design car.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:42 PM on August 12, 2010


We can't see the title on the front page.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:43 PM on August 12, 2010


This is bad high-school in the 80's graphic design car.

I'm not really a Koons fan, but it sounds like a lot of people in this thread don't really get what Koons does, and are expecting him to be Raphael or something.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:45 PM on August 12, 2010


No, looking at his other projects, I'd have expected to actually like this.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:48 PM on August 12, 2010


It's the first thing he's done that doesn't suck, IMO.

Vice versa. I love Jeff Koons. The BMW "art car" is crap, though.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:50 PM on August 12, 2010


Pope Guilty - yeah, I set it up in an unfortunate manner which ended up having it not really make any sense on the page. Tried to get cute; got bit in the ass.
posted by Nabubrush at 1:50 PM on August 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I just realized why Koons is so great. The people that like his work are irrelevant to the whole thing. He uncovers people's unexamined assumptions about art. Every time. Koons threads on here read like caricatured exiting comments at the Armory Show. "He didn't even physically paint it!" "I Could have done that!" "Well, it's only design." "X. Now THAT was what an art car is supposed to be."
posted by cmoj at 1:52 PM on August 12, 2010 [5 favorites]


If I recall correctly, the Warhol was actually hand-painted with art paint, unlike pretty much all of the others. That's neat, to me.

Of the lot, the Stella is by far my favorite.
posted by paisley henosis at 1:55 PM on August 12, 2010


No links because the comments are deep in books I don't care to rummage to find, but please see Billy Childish and David Markson (or does Markson just diss Hirst - no matter) on Jeff Koons (and see David Shrigley for a general comment on Koon's ilk.) Koon's a big ole hack and I'm with all the grumpy, "stuck" types who say so.
posted by Roachbeard at 2:00 PM on August 12, 2010


It feels like the BMW is one second away from going plaid.
posted by Atreides at 2:05 PM on August 12, 2010


Billy Childish is just bitter about his ex-girlfriend and is taking it out on artists.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:07 PM on August 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


This car doesn't annoy me.
The vacuum cleaner in a case annoyed me.
The bunny with the carrot annoyed me.

'Cause I don't know a whole hell of a lot about art, but how are the annoying things not Dadaist derivatives?
posted by angrycat at 2:08 PM on August 12, 2010


The reason it's dumb is because he's adding speed lines to an object whose essential shape proclaims speed. You don't need to emphasize that this thing goes fast. We can see that from its shape. These speed lines just slow it down.
posted by Faze at 2:17 PM on August 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


It reminds me of those t-shirts entirely covered in an anime-esque print that were popular in the late 90s.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 2:20 PM on August 12, 2010


Meh. It's not terrible. It's certainly art and not really anything to be mocked.

It's just a little disappointing that most of the BMW "art cars" don't really rise to anywhere near the level of the best liveries in racing that aren't "art cars." I suppose those are art, as well, though. Most of the BMW art cars don't hold a candle to the classic Gulf Oil or Martini Racing liveries (or the Porsche 917 Pink Pig).

What they ought to do is have the current art car at any given time be the template for all BMW racing livery for a few seasons. Koons' design would actually look quite good on a Formula 1 car (if BMW eventually returns to the sport with a factory team).
posted by The World Famous at 2:24 PM on August 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


3rd link to Wired's Take has numerous images from every angle you could desire in all kinds of fancy lighting.

Yeah, but studio shots are renowned for making shitty cars/colour schemes look good by choosing the angles carefully. One link to an unveiling doesn't really allow you to get a feel for how the colour scheme works on a car, imho. These are more of the kind of images I was hoping for; to my mind, you have to see a car in context to judge how effective the scheme is.

In stark contrast to the Koons car, BMW's other art cars have been hand painted by the artists mentioned. Maybe that makes this sort of disappointing, in that they aren't done by hand anymore - I'm not sure.

It's certainly disappointing that it isn't done by hand from a 'BMW didn't really put much effort into it like they used to' standpoint. It stops being 'art car' and becomes 'fancy sticker job done by famous person' to me. Putting that colour scheme (especially with it being designed off the car) onto the car really is just everyday normality for racing livery companies, so for BMW to suggest they had to consider the aerodynamics smacks of marketing horse crap to me.

You can make a full car wrap sticker for under a couple of thousand dollars in a week or two. The format of the file to do so (CAD based and optimised for vinyl stickers) means you could mass produce these really easily - Koons wouldn't even need to have been in the same continent as the car at any stage for this to have been completed. Even a CAD produced composite sticker set would be really easy to make and put on the car - I've done them myself. This isn't at all an art car in the older sense of it - this is not a one off, special car produced by hand that means something like they used to. Creating the actual design is interesting to some extent, but they've only really produced a flash looking sticker, not an art car. They could run a thousand of these stickers off and slap them on any car that it fitted to; it's the equivalent to commissioning paintings for years and then asking someone for just a photograph instead. The cars before were genuine one-off pieces of art and were of more value (financial and otherwise) than a copy of a photograph from a fancy name designer (basically) is.

It's a shame they've dumbed it down. It's a shame they're trying to add some kind of performance voodoo guff "The designer worked with the manufacturer to consider magical aerodynamic performance to optimise the design!" to try and make up for the fact that this is not anywhere near as soulful and real a project as they used to be.
posted by Brockles at 2:25 PM on August 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


What they ought to do is have the current art car at any given time be the template for all BMW racing livery for a few seasons. Koons' design would actually look quite good on a Formula 1 car (if BMW eventually returns to the sport with a factory team).

That would be a stupendously large investment on BMW's part with this livery, though. Despite the fact they have cancelled (or are going to) nearly all their motorsport programming save one or two series, to have such a colour scheme on a car would make having additional sponsor logos on it impossible. BMW would then have to solely support the project themselves. Huge, huge raise in investment required.
posted by Brockles at 2:29 PM on August 12, 2010


to have such a colour scheme on a car would make having additional sponsor logos on it impossible

Nah. Just cover up some of the graphic with sponsor logos. The BMW Sauber F1 cars didn't even have that many logos. Most current racing livery is inexplicably boring. As underwhelmed as I am by the Koons BMW Art Car (for many of the reasons you stated above, Brockles), something dynamic and crazy would be a nice change to current racing livery. It's a shame BMW (and most other manufacturers) have so severely limited their participation in motorsport lately.
posted by The World Famous at 2:33 PM on August 12, 2010


I like Calder's art car.
posted by Mister_A at 2:33 PM on August 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just cover up some of the graphic with sponsor logos

That looks awful - it's not the first time that has been attempted. Any sort of cohesive attempt at full livery looks awful if you have non-integrated logos slapped on it. In addition, you are limited to needing either a solid colour background or a different coloured border around the sponsor sticker.

The simplest colour schemes are always the best, and the more fussy you make it the harder it is to persuade sponsors that the public will see their company names clearly enough to justify the millions (or thousands) they are spending.
posted by Brockles at 2:47 PM on August 12, 2010


Yeah, you have a point there. Still, it annoys me that so many big teams' liveries are so lame. It seems like it wouldn't be all that difficult to have Koons modify the design to accommodate sponsors' logos in key locations.
posted by The World Famous at 2:49 PM on August 12, 2010


It's lovely.
posted by eeeeeez at 2:54 PM on August 12, 2010


I won't trot out the old saw about "it must be art; it pisses people off".


I know, I know. You aren't pissed, just disappointed.
posted by Nabubrush at 3:18 PM on August 12, 2010


It must be art because it pisses people off?

So soap operas are art? And stubbing my toe is? And missing a bus? That's the dumbest 'old saw' ever.
posted by Brockles at 4:34 PM on August 12, 2010


Brockles, why would it cost so much money to lay this design over other vehicles? Koons didn't paint the car by hand, they used an industry-standard method to lay down a decal that he designed.
posted by KingoftheWhales at 5:17 PM on August 12, 2010


I have a hard time with "art cars" that look like, well, cars. I like 'em like this.
posted by donovan at 6:03 PM on August 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Brockles, why would it cost so much money to lay this design over other vehicles?

That isn't a lot of money for that complex a job. Vinyl stickers - especially multiple colour ones - are expensive. If you ordered in quantity the unit price would come down a lot admittedly. However, it'd probably still be $1,000 a car as there is probably $2-300 of raw vinyl alone before you even start printing colours on it and cutting it to fit. Applying vinyl stickers properly (especially over the compound curves on a car) is not an easy job and you pay accordingly.
posted by Brockles at 6:21 PM on August 12, 2010


Sorry, Brockles - I thought the old saw would come across as the joke it was intended to be (cliche/old saw/old wives tale meaning a way people boil complex things down to simple homilies as opposed to understanding them).
posted by Nabubrush at 6:51 PM on August 12, 2010


Er. Yeah. I got it. I can't imagine someone saying that and being serious, to be honest!
posted by Brockles at 7:55 PM on August 12, 2010


Burhanistan, thanks for the link! THOSE are art cars.
posted by bloody_bonnie at 10:30 PM on August 12, 2010


I want to see Art Kumbalek's car.
posted by everichon at 12:52 PM on August 13, 2010


I want to see Lari Pittman's.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:26 PM on August 13, 2010


KingoftheWhales: "I love when people reject the artistic merits of something based on their preconceptions of the medium. Damn those kids and their garish sneakers emblazoned with graffitis."

I don't actually have any inherent problem with graffiti or designy sneakers or even designy sneakers with graffiti on them; it's just that most of them are bad. Quotes around 'artist' indicating the proportion arrogant asshattery : talent/skill.
posted by beerbajay at 11:32 AM on August 14, 2010


Gorgeous. The car asymmetry and breaking of lines on the side really makes it stand out from just a bunch of lines. The chunks on the back look really good too, like something out of a comic, not something on a car.
posted by the_aardvark at 5:00 PM on August 15, 2010


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