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Snapchat will put Jeff Koons’ art installations in augmented reality

Nick Statt

Snapchat plans to launch a new art initiative tomorrow aimed at using augmented reality to feature art installations around the world. A website,, mysteriously spawned a countdown clock this afternoon, and a snippet of javascript underlying the page appears to confirm that the reveal is a collaboration with renowned artist and big Snapchat fan Jeff Koons.

The countdown clock also happens to be counting down to Snap CEO Evan Spiegel's appearance at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit in Los Angeles tomorrow. Business Insider reports that you can even see the image behind the countdown clock, featuring Koons' "Balloon Dog" and other pop culture-inspired art pieces, and the name of Koons' new project, "Artwork All Around You," by simply setting your computer

The app, owned and operated by Snap Inc., has made a steady push into AR over the course of the last two years, experimenting first with its lens feature that adds real-time effects to a user's selfie. Over time, the feature has evolved into real-time virtual camera effects, what Snap calls "world lenses," that augment what users are seeing through the camera lens of a smartphone.

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It's unclear exactly how the art project will manifest in the real world. But it will likely involve digital works designed by Koons that appear in real-world locations, geo-locked to a user's location in ways similar to Niantic's AR mobile game Pokémon Go. That app spawns virtual collectible monsters depending on a user's location and exclusively in certain cities and geographical regions during special events. Snapchat has a similar feature called geofilters, which let users design custom filters locked to a certain location.

Koons, a controversial figure in the contemporary art scene known for working with pop culture objects and elaborate sculpture techniques, is a known Snapchat fan. When Koons' "Balloon Dog," a giant stainless steel recreation of a balloon animal, sold for a record-breaking $58.4 million in 2013, Koons posted a self-congratulatory selfie on Snapchat. And when interviewed earlier this year by iD UK, Koons said, "I think technology has informed us so much, it's let us appreciate other works of art. I think it's wonderful that people can, you know, pick up a phone and feel the freedom of — like Snapchat — making something that is aesthetically and emotionally pleasing, and fun, and to just feel that experience."

Snapchat did not immediately respond to request for comment.