After major public outcry and a fierce battle with the city, Jeff Koons’ controversial Bouquet of Tulips will be housed in Paris. The giant bunch of tulips made of aluminium and stainless steel will be installed on the lawn of the city’s Museum of Fine Arts, near the Champs-Elysees, as per Paris culture minister, Christophe Girard’s announcement.
After initially being welcomed by the city’s Mayor and set to be installed at the Tokyo Square, the project attracted many critics which eventually led to 24 artists, collectors and politicians urging city officials to reconsider their decision with an open letter published by the Libération.
The controversy began when Koons offered the sculpture as a memorial after the Paris terror attacks of 2014 and 2015. Critics rejected and dismissed the gesture as a “product placement” for Koons, one of the most expensive living artists today.
As a response, officials promised to find a different location for the sculpture that ensured visibility, leading them to settle on the Petit Palais as an ideal location. Christophe Girard announced the news on the radio, adding that the location being close to the American Embassy is “a very strong symbol and a reaffirmation of our friendship with the American people”.
Koons is no stranger to controversy in Paris, having fought several legal battles in French courts. A Paris district court is expected to make a decision in November regarding a lawsuit against Koons for plagiarising a French advertisement from the 80’s.
Despite the lawsuits and public outcry, it was reported that Koons left Paris last week “with a great smile on his face”.