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Koons and Philanthropy

Art with a Heart

There are people who are leaving a significant mark, not only on the surface of contemporary art, but also on a humanitarian level. Jeff Koons is one of them.


Tulips, sculpture group of high-chromium stainless steel with transparent colour coating by Jeff Koons, 1995–2004; in the collection of the Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain.

Jeffrey L. Koons is an American artist recognized for his work dealing with popular culture and his sculptures depicting everyday objects, including balloon animals – produced in stainless steel with mirror-finish surfaces. He lives and works in both New York City and his hometown of York, Pennsylvania.

His works have sold for substantial sums, including at least two record auction prices for a work by a living artist, including $91.1 million with fees in May 2019, for his Rabbit, purchased by Robert E. Mnuchin according to a New York Times article. On November 12, 2013, Koons' Balloon Dog sold at Christie's Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale in New York City for US$58.4 million, above its high US$55 million estimate, becoming the most expensive work by a living artist sold at auction. The price topped Koons' previous record of US$33.7 million and the record for the most expensive living artist, held by Gerhard Richter, whose 1968 painting, Domplatz, Mailand, sold for US$37.1 million at Sotheby's on May 14, 2013. Balloon Dog was one of the first of his Balloon Dog works to be fabricated, and had been acquired by Greenwich collector Peter Brant in the late 1990s.

Jeff Koons' 'Rabbit' Fetches $91 Million, Auction Record For Work By A Living Artist.

The art world, has never had a charity cause to call its own until Project Perpetual. This charity foundation raises funds and facilitates advocacy for children who are identified by the United Nations as high-risk groups.

Jeff Koons work raised $5.5m for UN Foundation "Project Perpetual" and ushered in a new age of art charity!

By donating his Picasso-riffing piece Gazing Ball (Charity), Koons raised money for vaccination and education programmes – and he’s part of an art world increasingly given to donations of valuable work.

“We always felt the art world was probably extremely generous but this is a unique opportunity for art and philanthropy to come together,” says Kathy Calvin, president of the UN Foundation – the charity "Project Perpetual" is engaged with developing world vaccination and education programmes, and was established with a $1bn pledge from CNN founder Ted Turner in 1998.

Artists, she says, are looking for ways to express themselves as global citizens. “They have the vision that art can change perceptions, so why not see what else it can do?”


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