Monday, April 22, 2024

Lady Gaga PR Push Pays Off: Jeff Koons Sculpture Sets Auction Record for Living Artist


Art pop indeed! Months and months of press by association with Lady Gaga has paid off. Last night artist Jeff Koons set an auction record at Christie’s. His “Balloon Dog (Orange)” was sold for $58.4 million ($62.6 million including fees.) The price smashed Koons’s previous auction high of $33 million. Not only that, it beat the auction house’s set price of $55 million. And it ended Gerhard Richter’s big sales record from last spring.

The Koons sale was the largest ever for a living artist.

Art auctions are emotional, especially when the numbers are so dizzyingly high and the room is full of crackle and pop. Peter Brandt was the owner of the Koons. There are five others, each in different colors, owned by the likes of disgraced financier Steven A. Cohen, Christie’s owner Francois Pinault, Dakis Joannou, who’s a Greek industrialist, and Los Angeles billionaire Eli Broad.

What’s all the fuss about Koons? The new owner and the bidders involved may not be one of Lady Gaga’s little monsters. But they know the value of press. And for months the pop star has touted Koons as an equal. He designed her album cover, and sculptures for her performances. Teens around the world know his name more than Picasso or Matisse.

There’s no doubt, too, that Gaga benefits from all of this. Presumably the newly minted 27 year old multi millionaire owns some Koons pieces. Their value has just skyrocketed. Koons was a great investment for Gaga.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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