Sunday, February 7, 2010

Jeff Koons's Studio [Photographs]

Jeff Koons's Studio, February 2, 2010. Photos: 16 Miles [more]

It's a little surprising that it took until 2010 for BMW to commission Jeff Koons to participate in its 'art car' series. The company picked Warhol to make the 1979 edition, 17 years after his high-art debut in New York. Koons, in contrast, has been producing inflatable sculptures for 31 years. (By the way, Warhol, the great assembly–line artist, made the charmingly perverse decision to paint his contribution by hand.)

Nevertheless, BMW has finally asked Koons to participate, and the artist opened his studio last week for a party to make the official announcement. Some of his assistants stayed after work to paint a bit and explain the studio process for the assembled masses. Discoveries: lunch-time soccer games (sans Koons) are frequent, more than 100 work there every day, and the starting wage is $19 an hour. Multiplying that number over a year for the full staff and then adding in other costs of running the workshop, his profit margin would seem to be less than one would expect.

The quality of the cars in BMW's series varies considerably, but the project at least invites a fun thought-experiment about how other artists might handle the commission. Robert Barry? All the doors would be locked. Damien Hirst? Formaldehyde–covered animals boxed in the trunk like massive subwoofers. James Turrell? One giant moon-roof. Yayoi Kusama? A giant, mobile, polka-dot-covered mushroom.

There are more photos and an article.

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