Red BMW (1987) Kunst & Vaarwerk

Aad Hoogendoorn
About the artwork

One of Kunst & Vaarwerk's best-known works still causes astonishment to those who first see it. Halfway down Poortstraat, a red BMW protrudes halfway from the facade, as if an accident had just occurred. But the 'Red BMW' is a striking pop-art-like art object, which has been hanging in the facade since 1987. It fits well in this part of the city because of the high-rise buildings, of which it, on the one hand, sings about commerce and prosperity and, on the other, breaks through the strict lines with a joke. The glossy decor of the many mirrored architecture is a great place for this work of art. “The gray city needed a bombardment of color”, according to Cor Kraat, one of the three men of the artists' collective Kunst & Vaarwerk. They approach the city with humor, of which this work is a good example. The private financier of the artwork is listed on the license plate. Originally, Kunst & Vaarwerk had in mind a wall of the Bijenkorf parking garage.

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About the artist

Kunst & Vaarwerk was an artist group consisting of Cor Kraat (1946), Hans Citroen (1946) and Willem van Drunen (1947) and existed from 1979 to 1992. Kunst & Vaarwerk was a Dutch pop-art variant, which hit back with humor and irony to the harsh urbanity. The scale of the port city called for an art of stature and brutality, but it is also an art against forgetfulness. The group collaborated with the Rotterdam business community to finance the projects and has realized various works in public space.

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