Visual Culture

The location in Paris of Jeff Koons’s controversial tulip sculpture will be moved following backlash to the work.

Eli Hill
May 30, 2018 3:41PM, via France 24

When former U.S. ambassador Jane Hartley approached Jeff Koons following the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, she asked him to create an artwork that signified the American alliance with France. His answer to the prompt was a $4.3 million, 34-foot tall, 33 ton sculpture of a white fist gripping a bouquet of flamboyantly colorful balloon flowers. Koons gifted the idea, though not the work itself, to Paris. Originally, Koons envisioned the work would go up in front of the Palais de Tokyo and the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.

The sculpture, its cost, and its placement quickly drew ire from critics. A letter signed by 23 French cultural figures criticized the centrality of the proposed site and charged that Koons had lost his “brilliant and inventive” approach of the 1980s, reported France 24. In response to anger from the French art world, the country's minister of culture Françoise Nyssen announced the work would be moved to a new location that is a “popular and visible place where it can be shared by everyone,” The Art Newspaper detailed. “I have spoken to Koons several times; we’re keen to move on from the controversy. He is not set on the Palais de Tokyo site,” said Nyssen. Where exactly the new “popular” location will be has not been revealed.

Eli Hill
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