Day 288/365 of Steel – Jeffrey Koons

Art or kitsch?

Jeffrey Koons (born January 21, 1955) is an American artist recognized for his work dealing with popular culture and his sculptures depicting everyday objects, including balloon animals produced in stainless steel with mirror-finish surfaces.

The Tulips, a bouquet of multicolor balloon flowers sculpture made by the artist Jeff Koons and located at the exterior of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
Fig 1: The Tulips, a bouquet of multicolor balloon flowers sculpture made by the artist Jeff Koons and located at the exterior of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
Photo: Fred Romero

Critics are sharply divided in their views of Koons. Some view his work as pioneering and of major art-historical importance. Others dismiss his work as kitsch, crass, and based on cynical self-merchandising.

Koons studied painting at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Jeff Koons’ famous artwork, the Puppy, Bilbao Museum.
Fig : Jeff Koons’ famous artwork, the Puppy, Bilbao Museum.
Photo: © News Directory US

Jeff Koons rose to prominence in the mid-1980s as part of a generation of artists who explored the meaning of art in a media-saturated era. Koon’s work is produced using a method known as art fabrication.

Koons started creating sculptures using inflatable toys in the 1970s. Taking a readymade inflatable rabbit, Koons cast the object in highly polished stainless steel, resulting in Rabbit (1986), one of his most famous artworks. On May 15, 2019, Koons set the record for most expensive piece sold by a living artist for the sale of “Rabbit”. “Rabbit” was sold at Christie’s Auction House for US$80 million.

Jeff Koons Balloon Flower
Fig 3: Jeff Koons Balloon Flower
Photo: © Jeff Koons

Another famous sculpture is Puppy (1992), a 13 m tall topiary sculpture of a West Highland White Terrier puppy, executed in a variety of flowers (including Marigolds, Begonias, Impatiens, Petunias, and Lobelias) on a transparent color-coated chrome stainless steel substructure. The flowers would grow for the specific length of time that the piece was exhibited.

About the Author:

Bruno Dursin – Managing Director at Believe in Steel. Bruno has more than 30 years of experience in promoting steel & steel solutions. His clients benefit from his extensive network within the building industry.

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