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Why & What

Overcompensating for regret

BY Dakis Joannou

Jeff Koons Balloon Dog (Red) (1994-2000), mirror-polished stainless steel with transparent colour coating © Jeff Koons. Photo credit: Fanis Vlastaras & Rebecca Constantopoulou

I went early to see Jeff Koons’ “Statuary” series at a group exhibition at the Sonnabend Gallery in 1986 to choose a work. I’d first seen Jeff’s work at “Equilibrium”, his show at International With Monument the year before and had been fascinated by it all: especially the One Ball Total Equilibrium Tank (1985), a very powerful and memorable image. 

I wanted to meet the artist, so I went and met Jeff. That’s how it all started. We’ve spent a lot of time together over the years and became good friends.

Jeff Koons, Rabbit (1986), stainless steel © Jeff Koons

During the Sonnabend exhibition, everybody was saying that Rabbit (1986) was the piece to get but, at that time, I felt that Louis XIV (1986) was more within the context of the show. I opted for Louis. I was especially happy to see it on the cover of Art in America. Of course, in terms of market value, I was wrong—as we now know, the bunny took a giant leap. Nevertheless, I still think I was right in terms of the context.

Jeff Koons, Louis XIV (1986), stainless steel © Jeff Koons

Anyway, I overcompensated by getting the red Balloon Dog (1994-2000). By that time, I was close with Jeff. I was in New York frequently and was spending time with him at the studio. The red Balloon Dog did not get away!

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