Sun, May 14, 2017 - Page 5 News List

Jeff Koons unveils giant inflatable ballerina in NY


Artist Jeff Koons on Friday in New York speaks about his public artwork Seated Ballerina.

Photo: AFP

Artist Jeff Koons on Friday unveiled an enormous inflatable blonde, silver-limbed ballerina in one of the busiest plazas in New York.

Seated on a stool and attending to a blue pointe shoe, the nylon figure in a light-blue tutu towers 14m above the Rockefeller Center just off Fifth Avenue, where she is to remain through June 2.

The public installation, which marks the third time that the “king of kitsch” has exhibited his work in the plaza, was designed to bring awareness to this month’s National Missing Children’s Month in the US.

“I really hope that Seated Ballerina can represent to people of all ages a sense of hope and optimism for the future, but specially that young children can look at this and can get a sense of their own potential,” the artist told reporters.

He took inspiration from a small porcelain figurine of a seated ballerina, which he then enlarged into a stainless steel sculpture before thinking that an inflatable version would have a “tremendous” impact.

The use of inflatable nylon, colored metallic, is a play on Koons’ famous Balloon Dogs that appear to be inflatable, but are actually stainless steel.

“Every time we take a deep breath and expand our lungs, we are inflatable and that’s kind of a symbol of optimism,” Koons said.

The statue was built to withstand high winds, but can be deflated if necessary.

In 2013, Koons set an auction record for the highest price paid for any work by a living artist when his Balloon Dog (Orange) sold for US$58.4 million.

The 62-year-old artist on Friday told reporters that US President Donald Trump’s election win, which has many US liberals up in arms, was a great time to make art.

“Administrations come and go,” he said. “It’s a great time to create art and communicate what’s relevant and profound to you.”

However, Koons is no stranger to controversy.

He is still famous for his short-lived marriage to a former Italian lawmaker known in the porn world as “Cicciolina” and for channeling their sex life into explicit art.

In 2014, one of his sculptures was pulled from the Pompidou Center in Paris after he was accused of ripping off a French clothing ad.

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