Two downtown New York office buildings are outfitted with eye-catching and charming sculptures from Jeff Koons’ Celebration series. His signature metal balloon statues are part of the inflatable toy series he began in the 1970s. Koons’ neo-pop style is both beloved and criticized for the way in which it elevates kitsch to high art, but the appeal of his work is undeniable, considering that one of his giant metallic sculptures is to date the most expensive work of a living artist to sell at auction. The Celebration series consists of the same few balloon forms in five variations of monochrome color – yellow, magenta, red, blue, and orange.
When exploring the Financial District it’s worth stopping by the outdoor plaza in front of 7 World Trade Center to see Balloon Flower (Red). The most recent Koons to be publicly installed is his Balloon Rabbit (Red) in the lobby of the new IBM Watson Building on Astor Place. The Rabbit, first made in 1986, is one of his most famous works to date. Part of the mass appeal of Koons’ Celebration series is how the viewer’s reflection becomes part of the piece.
The publicity he receives for his Celebration Series statues is a positive departure from Koons’ earlier infamy, gained from his sexually explicit Made in Heaven series, shown at the 1990 Venice Biennial, for which he posed with his pornstar wife, Ilona Staller. Koons allegedly destroyed the Made in Heaven series after the marriage ended on bad terms and Staller left him, taking their son.
|2008||Balloon Flower (Red) installed|
|2014||Balloon Rabbit (Red) installed|
|link||Sleek, Intelligent Design|
|article||Installation View: Jeff Koons’ “Made In Heaven” Series (XXX)|
|article||51 Astor Place Ready for Business|
|article||Koons Sculpture Adorns Lobby at Astor Place|