A monumental work by the American artist is to be installed in front of the Palais de Tokyo. A shocking and unwelcome initiative for the signatories of this text.
On November 21, 2016, the United States Embassy in France and the Paris City Hall announced the donation of Jeff Koons’ monumental Bouquet of Tulips, to definitively place it in Tokyo Place, “subject to obtaining the latest necessary authorizations “. While these reserves are still not lifted, the work would be in progress, in a German factory, and its imminent implementation.
We, artists, politicians, professionals and amateurs of the French art scene, ask for the abandonment of this initiative.
Indeed, this project is shocking, for reasons of different order and importance, the accumulation of which must lead wisely to abandon it:
Symbolically, above all. This sculpture was proposed by the artist as a “symbol of memory, optimism and recovery, in order to overcome the terrible events that took place in Paris,” tribute to the victims of the attacks of November 13, 2015. But the choice The work, and especially its location, without any relation to the tragic events invoked and their location, appear to be surprising, if not opportunistic, even cynical.
Democracy also, if a work of unprecedented importance was to be placed in this culturally and historically particularly prestigious place, would it not be necessary to proceed by call for projects, as is the custom, by opening this opportunity to the actors of the French scene? With tremendous vitality, the creation of our country would greatly benefit from such a proposal.
Architecturally and patrimonially, by its visual impact, its gigantism (12 meters high, 8 wide and 10 deep) and its location, this sculpture would upset the current harmony between the colonnades of the Museum of Modern Art in the city of Paris and the Palais de Tokyo, and the perspective on the Eiffel Tower.
Artistically, brilliant and inventive creator in the 1980s, Jeff Koons has since become the emblem of an industrial art, spectacular and speculative. His studio and his merchants are today multinationals of hyperluxe, among others. Offering them such high visibility and recognition would emerge from advertising or product placement, and would be particularly misplaced in this very touristy place, between two major cultural institutions, devolved especially to emerging artists and the French art scene.
Finally, financially, this installation would be costly for the state, and therefore for all taxpayers. Because the artist donates only his “idea”, the construction and installation of the sculpture, estimated at 3.5 million euros at least, being financed by patrons, including French, who would benefit from rebates 66% of their contribution. In addition, the preliminary works, to strengthen the basement of the Palais de Tokyo, immobilize long some of its spaces and cause for the art center a major shortfall.
Technically, placing 35 tons above the exhibition halls of the Palais de Tokyo is a major challenge. Already uncertain, the security of such a company in the long run is impossible to guarantee.
We appreciate gifts, but free, unconditional and without ulterior motives.
Signatories: Olivier Assayas, filmmaker; Marie-Claude Beaud, Director of the New National Museum of Monaco; Marie-Laure Bernadac, Honorary General Curator; Christian Bernard, director of the Spring of September; Christian Boltanski, artist; Nicolas Bourriaud, director of Montpellier Contemporain; Emilie Cariou, MP (LREM) Vice-Chair of the Finance Committee; Stéphane Corréard, director of the Galeristes salon; Matali Crasset, industrial designer; Alexia Fabre, chief curator of Mac / Val; Estelle Francès, founder of the Francès Foundation; Alexandre Gady, president of sites and monuments; Antoine de Galbert, collector, founder of the Maison rouge; Catherine Grenier, Director of the Alberto-et-Annette-Giacometti Foundation; Marie-Laure Jousset, Honorary Chief Curator; Marin Karmitz, collector; Gaëlle Lauriot-Prévost, designer; Claire Le Restif, director of the contemporary art center Le Crédac; Gabrielle Maubrie, gallerist, founder of the association Galleries mode d’emploi; Frédéric Mitterrand, former Minister of Culture; Jean-Luc Moulène, artist; Tania Mouraud, artist; Pierre Oudart, director of the Marseille-Méditerranée College of Art and Design; Dominique Perrault, architect.