What do you do if you are a world-famous city that has suffered horrendous terror attacks and a famous artist decides to “gift” you with a sculpture you really are not that happy with?
That was the scenario for Paris when American artist Jeff Koons offered a ten meter long work called “Bouquet of Tulips” as a ‘remembrance to the victims of the terrible tragedies”.
The Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo originally planned the art being installed opposite the Eiffel Tower. The piece called “Bouquet of Tulips” has a hand grasping flowers, kind of a reference to the Statue of Liberty which was given to the United States by the people of France. But France’s art world were not so happy with this gift, or the fact that it was going to be beside some Paris landmarks that had no reference or place in the attacks.
As The Telegraph dryly states critics observed that Mr. Koons had his day over thirty years ago, and described his work as “assembly line”. No less than 23 prominent members of the art world slammed the potential location of the art work, and months of deliberations came up with a compromise. The culture minister bluntly stated “Can you just imagine the international controversy if the city had told the Americans ‘We don’t want your present?”
The compromise location for the sculpture was the municipal gardens of the Beaux-Arts museum near the location of the American embassy. The city is on the hook for maintenance of the piece, while private foundations will pay for installation.
You can take a look at the announcement of the public art gift in the YouTube below, and get an idea of the size and scale of the piece, and why it stirred such strong feelings in Paris.