Every NBA team has its own mascot, but not every team has a public art masterpiece dedicated to the sports hall that hosts the team. Especially not a piece of art by one of the most recognized sculptors and artists at this moment. The city of Sacramento, California and its basketball team – the Sacramento Kings - have commissioned a Jeff Koons sculpture for the team’s new arena. The Jeff Koons sculpture will be purchased for $ 8 million, through an arrangement with the Gagosian Gallery. The Sacramento Kings arena and its surroundings, located in the downtown of the Californian capital, will be turned into a beautiful landmark, characterized by a unique public art piece.
Koons’ work is very popular at the art market. On November 12th, 2013, the Ballon Dog (orange) was sold at Christie's Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale in New York City for $ 58.4 million. Many other works by Koons were also sold for the record prices. Opinions about the artist’s work are completely divided. On one hand, many praise his work as of major art-historical importance. Others are dismissing his work as kitsch and too banal. Yet, nobody can negate the important place Koons has in the contemporary art scene. His work is widely known for the reproductions of banal objects, such as balloon animals produced in stainless steel with mirror-finish surfaces. His art is usually classified into art series. Many of his works are public art pieces, situated in open spaces. He also collaborated with many celebrities, such as Lady Gaga on her third studio album. Therefore, Koons may be labeled as a celebrity artist, whose work is widely known.
Although Koons uses a wide range of media in his work, his sculpture work is the most recognized. The Jeff Koons sculpture is characterized by vivid colors, usually created in stainless steel, with quite strange proportions. For the Sacramento Kings Arena, the commission that was made by the team and the city (of Sacramento) arts commission, decided on the purchase of the Jeff Koons sculpture from the artist’s Coloring Book series. This colorful piece will be placed at the plaza in front of the Sacramento Kings Arena, and the city authorities highlight the highly reflective surface of the sculpture. At different times of day and in different weather, it'll appear to take on new characteristics even to a same person. The sculpture is yet to be created, and it is supposed to be the last in the series.
Since the purchase of the Jeff Koons sculpture that will be publicly displayed in front of the Sacramento Kings Arena requires a lot amount of public money, the city arts commission also announced a $1 million donation from artist Marcy Friedman for acquiring more pieces, specifically from local artists. The city authorities wanted something that will have a lasting impact, and the Jeff Koons sculpture will certainly fulfill their desire. However, the costs of this purchase will be the highest the city has ever spent for a public art piece in its history.
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