BMW is awakening a tradition of racing and art with Jeff Koons' creation of the 17th Art Car. Revealed here following its official unveiling at the Centre Pompidou in Paris last night and ahead of its its race debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans later this month, the car takes a simple, two-dimensional theme and delivers what Koons describes as "powerful."

As part of his creative process, the artist collected images of race cars, related graphics, vibrant colors, speed and explosions. Koons explains that the resulting artwork of bright colors is "evocative of power, motion and bursting energy."

Power is indeed a big part of the 17th Art Car, as it's a racer, born and bred. Andy Priaulx, Dirk Mueller, and Dirk Werner will drive the #79 art-liveried car in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, 35 years after the first Art Car, painted by Alexander Calder, took to the track in 1975. The car's number pays homage to Andy Warhol's 1979 Art Car, which itself wore the number 76 to commemorate the 1976 Frank Stella car. Both the Warhol and Stella cars raced at Le Mans as well.

“It is fitting that Jeff Koons’ car will follow in the storied tradition of the renowned artists who created the early race-inspired BMW Art Cars,” said BMW North America president Jim O’Donnell. “We look forward to BMW’s return to Le Mans--and perhaps even sharing a toast with Jeff at the finish line.


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