Maybach Zeppelin through the eyes of David LaChapelle - click above to view high-res NSFW gallery

While its enduring legacy will forever be crippling hyperinflation and the inability to fight the rise of Nazism, Germany's post World War I Weimar Republic has something of a positive, cultural heritage. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, theater, art, architecture (Bauhaus anyone?) and music all flourished in pre-Hitler Germany. Cabaret and promiscuity in general became so widespread that conservatives had to busy themselves banning jazz and passing laws against teenagers purchasing pornography. Long story short, Berlin was quite the place to be during the Jazz Age.

And not a bad place to shop for cars, either. Especially decadent, luxury cars. Like the dreamy Mercedes-Benz SSK. Or a stately Horch 430 Cabriolet Drophead Coupe. And even if we could forget the irrepressible 1931 Maybach Zeppelin DS 8, Daimler wouldn't let us. To wit, in order to publicize their brand-new Maybach Zeppelin, Daimler has retained the services of noted fashion/art photographer David LaChapelle and furnished him with both the new car and a lovely custard and black example of the OG 1931 Zeppelin. Here's how Daimler describes the collaboration:
"The renowned American photographer has chosen to collaborate with style icon Daphne Guinness to portray both vehicles in his signature fashion. With creative freedom entrusted to LaChapelle by Maybach, he created photos that whisk the observer to a world filled with luxurious extravagance that features LaChapelle's celebrated surreal tableaux."
Fair enough. There is actually something of a precedent here, as Andy Warhol created a 35-part series for Daimler in 1986 entitled, "Car." Coincidently, it was Warhol that discovered LaChapelle. As far as LaChapelle's photos go, we're showing you the much less interesting one here on the mainpage. There's a Not Safe For Work (nudity) gallery of the other stuff after the jump. Are they any good? Hard to say, but we are reminded of Hunter S. Thompson's description of Bazooko's Circus as, "what the whole hep world would be doing Saturday night if the Nazis had won the war... the Sixth Reich." See for yourselves along with a press release and a making-of video after the jump (NSFW).

[Source: Daimler]

Press Release

David LaChapelle portrays Maybach
  • World premiere of David LaChapelle's photographs presented by Maybach during Art Basel Miami Beach, December 5th
  • Maybach is accelerating its commitment to contemporary art
  • Combining art and social commitment based on the patronage model of the Wilhelm and Karl Maybach Foundation
  • Maybach – partner of Fondation Beyeler from 2010

Miami/Stuttgart. The Maybach automobile brand is accelerating its commitment to contemporary art. The focus is to work with internationally renowned artists like David LaChapelle and major institutions within the art community, like the Fondation Beyeler in Basel, Switzerland.

The latest highlight of Maybach's artistic commitment is its collaboration with David LaChapelle, one of the world's most prominent photographers. His artistic portrayals of Maybach luxury cars entitled „Exposure of Luxury" and „Berlin Stories" will celebrate their world premiere during Art Basel Miami Beach, where they will be first presented to Maybach guests and the press at an exclusive preview on December 5th, 2009. This artistic work focuses on the Maybach Zeppelin limited special edition and its historic predecessor from the 1930s, the Maybach Zeppelin DS 8. "After visiting the Maybach facility in Sindelfingen, I was inspired to create two iconic photographs which radiated the same seducing and dynamic appeal, as the Maybach itself," said David LaChapelle.
The renowned American photographer has chosen to collaborate with style icon Daphne Guinness to portray both vehicles in his signature fashion. With creative freedom entrusted to LaChapelle by Maybach, he created photos that whisk the observer to a world filled with luxurious extravagance that features LaChapelle's celebrated surreal tableaux.
New view of the Maybach
The inspiration for this project was also characteristic of David LaChapelle. During a visit to the Maybach Center of Excellence in Sindelfingen, Germany in the spring of 2009, he was so impressed by the high-end sedans that he came up with an idea for a photo shooting, which he then completed in October 2009.
Patrick Marinoff, Global Brand Manager Maybach, supported the concept of LaChapelle's interpretation from the very start. "We are very honoured that such an exceptional artist like David LaChapelle, with his unusual and at times even rousing style, has interpreted the Maybach brand. The results speak for themselves; these are images that create a new view of the Maybach brand. I am convinced that the founder of the brand, Wilhelm Maybach – himself a great innovator in his time – would have also been delighted."
The artist created two motifs - one of the current Maybach Zeppelin and another of the Zeppelin from the 1930s photographed against a similarly themed backdrop. These photographs will become part of David LaChapelle's art collection, which will make their way to galleries, collectors and museums around the world. Later on a copy of each photo will go to the Daimler Art Collection. With over 1,800 works by some 600 artists – including stars such as Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons – this has grown since 1977 to become one of the leading corporate collections of abstract-constructivist, conceptualist and minimalist art of the 20th century (
Linking art and social commitment
With this project David LaChapelle follows in the footsteps of Andy Warhol, who created a 35-part series for Daimler back in 1986 entitled "Cars" according to the theme "the car – an icon of mobility". An outstanding feature of this was his artistic interpretation of the legendary gull-wing Mercedes-Benz 300 SL. It was in fact Andy Warhol who noticed David LaChapelle's talent early in his career and provided him the opportunity to showcase his photography in Interview Magazine. The Wilhelm and Karl Maybach Foundation is also dedicated to this principle of supporting young and emerging artists through established mentors. In following in the same path, David LaChapelle is supporting the idea of patronage by providing the opportunity for an emerging photographer to share his experiences with him for a three months period in Hawaii – supported by Maybach.
This brings us full circle: Over a hundred years ago, Gottlieb Daimler met Wilhelm Maybach in the engineering works of an orphanage in Reutlingen, Germany and decided to take the extraordinarily talented young engineer under his wing. Maybach went on to develop a wide range of groundbreaking technical innovations.
Cooperation between Maybach and Fondation Beyeler
From 2010 Maybach will be the official partner of the renowned Fondation Beyeler in Riehen near Basel, Switzerland. "It's wonderful that Maybach is so committed to the arts. Their collaboration with artists and art museums opens the doors to creativity and promotes culture excellence. Both - art and Maybach - unite the ideals of permanent innovation, consciousness of tradition and a highly developed sense of aesthetics and quality. Thanks to its cooperation with Maybach, the Fondation Beyeler is able to chauffeur its artists and international guests in a saloon that treats them to a motoring experience of unparalleled comfort," said Sam Keller, director Fondation Beyeler.
A tradition of commitment to top-notch contemporary art
In 2005 Maybach supported the artist duo Christo and Jeanne-Claude with their sensational project "The Gates" in New York's Central Park. After additional projects, in August 2009 this was followed by the presentation of the Maybach Art Cars – designed by Tim Berresheim.
Thanks to the collaboration with David LaChapelle and the partnership with the Fondation Beyeler, the luxury carmaker is consistently strengthening its commitment to contemporary art and offering customers exclusive access to the art, artists and prestigious art fairs, the brand and the limousines. This mirrors precisely what Wilhelm Maybach had in mind when he created his legendary car: luxurious, fascinating and ahead of its time.

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