Jeff Koons is obsessive about his work and that includes work that he no longer owns as this anecdote from ArtInfo.com’s story on the Balloon Flower (Blue) being sold at Christie’s next week shows. Christie’s department head, Brett Gorvy, explains:
“The work is about perfection, and we wanted the work to be in absolutely pristine condition,” Gorby said. The artist himself monitors such preparation closely as well. “Jeff Koons expects them to be models of perfection when they come for sale,” according to Gorby.
Christie’s approached the German fabrication firm Arnold, which had been involved in making the work with Koons more than a decade ago. “The sculpture had a life outside,” Gorvy said. “We wanted to restore the precision it had in the factory. This is not like working with a Giacometti, where one has a sense of the patina. The expectation of the buyer is that the work is going to look close to how it did when it left the fabricator.” The meticulous restoration process, personally overseen by Koons, took more than six months. Now, when the piece hits the block, some of its aspects will “probably even look better than how it was when it first went through fabrication,” Gorvy said, because of improvements to Arnold’s production technology since that time.
Koons “treats his objects like children,” Gorvy said. “He is extraordinarily hands-on.” In fact, just Thursday morning, Koons had been up at Rockefeller Center, where the work is now installed, helping a Christie’s photographer pick angles from which to shoot the work in situ. The auction house’s promotion of the sculpture has been relentless, including the production of a special catalogue devoted solely to the work. Koons “color-checked every single picture” in the book, Gorvy said.