Jeff Koons’s “Puppy” sculpture dons a floral face-mask.

Justin Kamp
Oct 30, 2020 8:26PM, via The Art Newspaper

Jeff Koons, Puppy (1992) donning a new face mask. Courtesy Guggenheim Bilbao.

Jeff Koons’s Puppy (1992) sculpture at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao now dons a face-mask made of blue and white flowers. While the flowers are only vaguely visible at the moment, they’ll soon bloom into a full COVID-conscious mantle in a few weeks’ time. It’s become a museum tradition for the greenery-covered sculpture, which was first installed in 1997, to play host to a new crop of flowers every spring and fall.

Koons described the new decoration in a statement:

What an honour it is to be able to have Puppy communicate the importance of wearing a mask during this time of the Covid-19 pandemic. A Bilbao resident sent me a letter asking if Puppy could wear a mask which I thought was a wonderful idea. I was thrilled that the museum agreed as now Puppy, adorned with a mask made of white and blue flowers, can communicate safety and well-being to the citizens of Bilbao and the world.

Artists the world over have mined the COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant health restrictions for material throughout the year. In April, Banksy shared a picture on Instagram of a new work he created during lockdown, featuring his signature rats wreaking havoc in the artist’s home bathroom. In May, he unveiled a new painting at Southampton General Hospital in the United Kingdom; the work was auctioned off to help raise funds for the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS). Earlier in the year, Grayson Perry announced he would be launching a TV show to teach self-isolating viewers how to create art from the confines of home.

According to Artsy data, demand for Koons’s work on the platform rose steadily from 2014 to 2018, peaking that year. Demand dipped only slightly in 2019, the year of the record-setting sale of Rabbit (1986)(which made him, once again, the most expensive living artist at auction). Inquiries on his work in 2020 are on track to top out near 2017 levels.

Further Reading: Why Jeff Koons’s “Rabbit” Could Sell for up to $70 Million

Further Reading: Jeff Koons Reclaims the Throne as World’s Most Expensive Living Artist

Further Reading: Why Jeff Koons Is a Natural Successor to Marcel Duchamp

Justin Kamp
Get the Artsy app
Download on the App StoreGet it on Google Play
Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019