Some of the leading lights of the art world are hoping to build new audiences by joining forces with K-pop band BTS.
The Korean boyband are using part of their wealth to fund a global arts project – with Sir Antony Gormley involved.
In an unexpected collaboration, the group said they wanted to send a “positive message for the world”.
It has not been disclosed how much the whole project – with art on show in London, Berlin, New York, Buenos Aires and Seoul – will cost.
But the world-famous band, who were beamed into London’s Serpentine Gallery via a live video link, are helping to pay for it.
British sculptor Sir Antony, famous for the Angel Of The North, will show 18km of aluminium tubing “that loops and coils without beginning or end” in New York as part of the project.
It is “a wonderful example of people jumping out of their silos”, he said.
Another piece of the project will see an artist “float into the sky, powered only by the sun and the air we breathe, without fossil fuels, solar panels, batteries or helium” in what is billed as “the first time in history”.
The attempt will take place in Argentina’s salt lake Salinas Grandes, “in solidarity with the indigenous communities there”, and the film will be shown in Buenos Aires.
“Humans have always dreamt of flying. Today that dream has become a nightmare. What if we could fly differently?” artist Tomas Saraceno said at the London press conference.
Other projects include a “virtual forest” at London’s Serpentine Gallery, while in Seoul, there will be a “re-imagining of BTS’s signature dance movements as seen through the techniques of projection mapping”.
The boyband, who had conversations with the artists taking part, said they wanted to “give back some of the amazing love that we receive….
“We communicate through our music and give joy through our performances.
“We have always been inspired by the ability of music to communicate across borders, which is not very different to what art does,” they said.
“We still believe in the power of art, that it can help change the world.”
The project “represents diversity and creates a collective, positive message for the world that we value,” they said.
Serpentine Gallery artistic director Hans-Ulrich Obrist said the project was about “bridge-building”.
“We need alliances,” he said.
“It’s about connecting everyone who is interested with BTS with everyone who is interested in contemporary art. It’s all about creating these new junctions.”
Information about the Connect, BTS project is at www.connect-bts.com