The BMW Art Car Creates a Splash

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Jeff Koons joined the illustrious ranks of legendary artists who've propelled the BMW brand as a major force in the art world. On opening day of Miami's Art Basel, Koons was on hand with supermodel Karolina Kurkova to premiere the latest in the famed BMW Art Car collection. The automaker is distinguished in the car industry for developing its brand in highbrow culture. Suited for the event, which is considered the SXSW festival of the arts, the Art Car was a flashy concoction of vivid colors and bold imagination. Its model was a M3 GT2, and it was showcased alongside Andy Warhol's famous version in 1979. Koons had been interested in participating in a project since 2003 and had driven a BMW automobile 20 years ago.

The Long History of BMW and Modern Art

Here is why BMW's longtime collaboration in the arts and high culture is notable to its brand development and cultural relevance to its consumer base.

  • BMW partnered with Art Basel in Miami Beach since the very beginning. It has, from its inception, provided shuttle service for its VIP guests. For 40 years and counting, the BMW Group collaborates with more than a hundred cultural organizations globally. The company places focuses on fine art,  jazz, classical music, as well as architecture in order to elevate the brand firmly in the place of highbrow and luxury markets worldwide.

  • Koons joins the likes of Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Frank Stella who have collaborated with BMW since 1975, when Hervé Poulain invited his friend and artist Alexander  Calder to design the BMW Le Mans 24-hour race car. From then on, it has become a highly esteemed tradition linking technology with fine art.

  • Since 1972, artists such as Eliasson, Metha, Barenboim and Netrebko  all have been linked with BMW's connection with the arts. The company also worked with architects Schwanzer and Himmelb(l)au to design corporate structures and factory plants. The BMW Guggenheim Lab was founded as a worldwide organization in 2011.

Koons released a statement affirming BMW's prominent place in the cultural world: "I always enjoy the Art Cars. I wanted to take part." Bono recently wrote an article for the New York Times declaring that Koons was the only artist who could innovate car design into the future. The intersections of culture, art, and commerciality has always been an essential component of marketing and advertising. BMW is securing a place at the forefront of this philosophy.

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