Balloon Flower “Red” WTC 7, NYC
Jeff Koons is undoubtedly a world renowned artist. He has created huge public works around the globe. He is known for his installations, photography, and especially his sculptures, like the infamous “Michael Jackson and Bubbles”. In addition to being a professional artist, Koons was also a senior representative for The Museum of Modern Art and even a commodity broker on Wall Street for 6 years so he pretty much understands all aspects of the game.

So it was with great surprise to see the WTC 7 open with Koon’s metallic sculpture, “Balloon Flower (Red),” sitting in the fountain of the new park, front and center. People can argue all day long whether its art or not, or if its ugly, some have even called it a big red cock. The bothersome thing about this particular sculpture is that it is not original art per se. These “Balloon Flowers” have been floating around for over 10 years. They have been spotted at the Marlene-Dietrich-Platz in Germany, at a rich couple’s ‘art house’ in Dallas, Texas, at a gallery called Max Hetzler, and even comes as an inflatable version (call gallery for price). Bonus: play with it here.
(L to R: WTC7,Marlene-Dietrich-Platz,Art House,Max Hetzler)
Why the hell would Silverstein commission such a talented artist to give NYC a piece of recycled seen-before art? If the WTC 7 is really supposed to serve as a beacon of renewal and all that, there should be magnificent site specific and custom art created. And its not like the series has any significance as a set either which makes the decision even more dumfounding. Even Koons should have refused and instead given NYC a brand new piece of art and a new symbol of hope, not work that has been debuted and seen so many times before, and that carries no special significance whatsoever to NYC. Shit we would have even been better off with the giant Balloon poodles then the awful “Balloon Flower (Red)”.
If what we’re looking at is ‘just the beginning,’ as Silverstein notes, we tremble to see the ending. Then there’s the building itself, which looks more like a city grate, and less like a city building, but that’s a whole other ANIMAL.