New Jeff Koons sculpture is tribute to victims of Paris attacks

Bouquet of Tulips, currently being built, is to be installed on the plaza outside the Museum of Modern Art next year

American artist Jeff Koons is giving Paris a monumental sculpture of a bunch of flowers in commemoration of the lives lost in the 2015 terrorist attacks in the French city.

The work, called Bouquet of Tulips, is a “symbol of remembrance, optimism and healing in moving forward from the horrific events that occurred in Paris one year ago,” Koons said.

The fistful of colourful flowers is also meant to resemble the hand of the Statue of Liberty. “One hundred and thirty years after France gave the Statue of Liberty to the United States, Jeff Koons wanted to celebrate the remarkable France-America alliance that has endured and flourished for over 200 years,” said a statement.

At 10.4 metres (34ft) high, 8.4 metres wide and 10.2 metres deep, the work, currently being built in Germany, and made of bronze, stainless steel and aluminium, is to be installed on the plaza outside the Museum of Modern Art and the Palais de Tokyo next year.

“I hope the work is life-changing to people,” Koons said on Monday. “I hope that the Bouquet of Tulips can communicate a sense of future, of optimism, the joy of offering to find something greater outside the self.”

Koons said he hoped the flowers would give the victims’ families the strength to continue. “They are a symbol that life goes forward,” he said, adding that the sculpture had been inspired by the floral paintings of Monet, Picasso and Fragonard, among others.

A wave of terrorist shootings and bombings across Paris last November killed 130 people and injured hundreds more, including at the Bataclan music venue.

Jane Hartley, the US ambassador to France, said: “My hope is this amazing sculpture will bring visitors to Paris.” She added: “Our two countries share so much politically, economically and culturally – but most importantly, France and the United States share a deeply held belief in the universal principles of freedom and liberty.”

The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, said the sculpture’s optimistic message was welcome. “That such an immense artist should have the original idea to offer Paris a monumental work, symbolising generosity and sharing, demonstrates the unbreakable links between our capita and the US,” she said.

The €3m (£2.6m) statue is being financed by private donations from America and France.

Koons has not always been appreciated in France. In 2008, when 16 of his works was displayed at Versailles, critics questioned whether the historic site was an appropriate place for sculptures by “an artist considered a paragon of kitsch”.

Contributor

Kim Willsher in Paris

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Jeff Koons plagiarised French photographer for Naked sculpture
Court rules American artist copied a 1975 postcard by Jean-François Bauret for his 1988 sculpture of two children

Kim Willsher in Paris

09, Mar, 2017 @7:36 PM

Article image
Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam charged with murder
Alleged logistical mastermind of attacks in French capital flown in by helicopter from Belgium, where he was arrested last month

Kim Willsher in Paris

27, Apr, 2016 @5:46 PM

Article image
Paris attacks inquiry finds multiple failings by French intelligence agencies
Commission calls for creation of national counter-terrorism agency and says Bataclan attack could have been prevented

Angelique Chrisafis in Paris

05, Jul, 2016 @5:53 PM

Article image
Belgian broadcaster releases interview with then-fugitive Paris attacks suspect
RTBF reporter unwittingly spoke to Salah Abdeslam, alleged kingpin of attacks that killed 130

Jon Henley Europe correspondent

07, Sep, 2021 @10:59 AM

Article image
Memorial plaques unveiled in Paris on first anniversary of attacks
François Hollande unveils plaques at national sports stadium, bars and restaurants and Bataclan concert hall

Angelique Chrisafis in Paris

13, Nov, 2016 @1:47 PM

Article image
Trial of Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam opens in Belgium
Charges relate to shootout in Brussels suburb shortly before arrest in March 2016

Kim Willsher

05, Feb, 2018 @12:02 PM

Article image
Guggenheim Bilbao asks for €100,000 to restore Jeff Koons’ Puppy
Museum launches crowdfunding campaign to repair structure of US artist’s 12.4-metre west highland terrier

Stephen Burgen in Barcelona

12, Jul, 2021 @12:28 PM

Article image
Paris attacks: suspects treated like dogs, claims Abdeslam in trial outburst
Main suspect’s courtroom tirade on opening day of long-awaited trial angers survivors of 2015 attacks

Kim Willsher in Paris

08, Sep, 2021 @5:07 PM

Article image
Emmanuel Macron attends low-key memorials two years after Paris attacks
French president lays wreaths and speaks to families and survivors, while only surviving suspect remains silent in custody

Kim Willsher

13, Nov, 2017 @2:43 PM

Article image
Paris attacks anniversary to be marked with Sting concert at Bataclan
British singer to perform at reopening of venue on eve of commemorations of terrorist attacks that killed 130 people

Angelique Chrisafis in Paris

11, Nov, 2016 @4:59 PM