This week I read a few articles about the ongoing controversy surrounding Jeff Koons donation to commemorate and honor the people impacted the the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris. At the heart of the issue is that Koons did not donate a work of art, instead he donated the idea for a work of art. I sincerely believe project concepts and ideas can have significant value, however what Koons’ donation feels more like marketing than philanthropy.
And the donation of an idea isn’t the only unsettling part of the controversy. During an interview Koons draws a connection between his donation and the donation of the Statue of Liberty that the USA received from France more than 130 years ago. But the French gave America the entire Statue not just a rendering. Big, big difference! To further sour this entire venture, the planned installation site is nowhere near the site of the terrorist attacks it’s supposed to commemorate. I can’t help but wonder exactly what the $4 million dollar production and installation price includes. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the artist is receiving a fee for overseeing the production efforts. It seems unlikely that he would just provide the concept and then turn over the production without having any input or management.
I have to side with the French artists and other people who want to prevent sculpture’s installation. It just feels very wrong. I hope they are can successfully block the project’s completion. The only downside is that production is nearing its end so at this point millions of dollars will have been wasted if the project is stopped.