The Balloon Monkey (Magenta) by Jeff Koons comes to Christie’s for the benefit of Ukrainian citizens

On June 28, Christie’s will feature one of Koons’ signature mirror-polished stainless steel sculptures — Balloon Monkey (Magenta) (2006-13) – as part of the 20th/21st Century: London Evening Sale.

It comes from the collection of Victor and Olena Pinchuk, and the proceeds from the sale will be used to promote humanitarian aid in Ukraine, helping injured soldiers and civilians in urgent need of medical care, prosthetics and rehabilitation. .

‘Victor and Olena Pinchuk have worked tirelessly to galvanize humanitarian aid for Ukraine, so it is a sincere privilege to have my artwork Balloon Monkey (Magenta) auctioned at Christie’s to support their extraordinary efforts,” says Koons.

“The true value of art is to serve humanity, and there could be no higher calling right now than to support the people of Ukraine.”

Balloon Monkey (Magenta) represents the evolution of Koons’ “Celebration” sculptures, which were first conceived in 1993, following the success of his first Rabbit (1986).

The series was inspired by the birth of Koons’ son in 1992 and draws on idealized notions of childhood and the annual cycle of red days. Among the colossal works, painted in a sequence of transparent color layers, are Balloon Flower (1995-2000) (below), tulips (1995-2004) and cracked egg (1994-2006).

Koons built on the series to create the monumental works Swan Balloon (2004-11), balloon bunny (2005-10) and Balloon Monkey (2006-13). In 2013 – the same year he finished Balloon Monkey — Balloon Dog (Orange) (1994-2000) sold for $58.4 million at Christie’s in New York and made him the world’s most expensive living artist.

Completed on the eve of the Koons retrospective at Whitney Museum of American Art At New York, Balloon Monkey (Magenta) spanned seven years, as the artist – a man of legendary high standards – perfected his size, shape and color.

It was created with the collaboration of a professional balloon modeler, CT scan equipment, a German manufacturing company and assistants in his New York studio.

This release is an artist’s proof and one of five unique releases, alongside others in red, blue, yellow, and orange. Each weighs nearly five tons and is about 19½ feet (just under 6 meters) long, making the monkey the largest of its balloon animals.

The other versions of Balloon Monkey have been exposed to Gagosian in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Qatar Museums in Doha, Strozzi Palace in Florence and at Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery in London.

Balloon Monkey (Magenta) rightly symbolizes hope, affirmation and transcendence, and I can only hope that Victor and Olena Pinchuk’s donation of my artwork can help bring attention to the need for help and support for the inhabitants of Ukrainenow more than ever,” says Koons.

The Victor Pinchuk Foundation was established in 2006, with the aim of empowering a new generation of changemakers. One of its pillars is the PinchukArtCentre in Kyiv, which champions local and global emerging artists.

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The Olena Pinchuk Foundation was founded in 2003, initially to fight HIV/AIDS in Ukraine, then expanded to research on battlefield medical aid and gender equality in the country.

Since the last Russian assault on Ukraine began on February 24, 2022, the couple have supported the victims and the Ukrainian military with donations of more than $30 million.

Balloon Monkey (Magenta) is on view in St James’s Square in London until July 3, 2022