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'Is it sperm or lollipops?' Parisians don't seem to want new Jeff Koons sculpture

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'Is it sperm or lollipops?' Parisians don't seem to want new Jeff Koons sculpture
Jeff Koons with "Bouquet of Tulips". Photo: AFP
12:14 CET+01:00
A Jeff Koons sculpture given to Paris by the US artist himself in homage to the victims of the 2015 jihadist terror attacks is set to be installed in the city in the next few days. But no one in Paris appears to want it.
The French capital is a city which has a history of appreciating avant-garde art. 
 
But apparently, "Bouquet of Tulips" by Jeff Koons, made of 33 tons of bronze and aluminium and standing 12-metres-high, hasn't quite hit the mark for Parisians. 
 
The work, said to represent a huge hand, holding eleven colorful tulips, is set to be installed in Paris in between hip Parisian gallery Palais de Tokyo and the city's modern art museum in the upmarket 16th arrondissement in the next few days. 
 
But as the artwork gets set to take up residence in one of the poshest neighbourhoods in town, it's seems unlikely the city will be welcoming the monumental sculpture with open arms. 
 
"It's a kind of weird balloon ... I do not find it very pretty," one person told Europe 1 summing up the ambivalence towards it.
 
An illustration of the sculpture.
 
Another person questioned what exactly the artwork was meant to represent. 
 
"What is it? Giant lollipops? Sperm?" a local resident asked. 
 
One Parisian gallery owner Stéphane Corréard has even set up a petition to stop the project going ahead. 
 
"Today, an artist like Jeff Koons is a multinational corporation. Not art-house at all. Here, we are in a place of art," he said. 
 
"The Palais de Tokyo is dedicated to young artists, emerging art, to the French scene," he added. "To install this kind of work in this kind of place is to give an absolutely gigantic advertising opportunity in exchange for nothing."
 
The sculpture cost some €3 million ($3.2 million) to make and received financing from private donors in the United States and France.
 
Koons said it was designed as an offering in memory of the victims and as a symbol of optimism, in an effort to help Paris overcome the tragedy that struck the French capital on November 13 last year.
   
In a string of coordinated attacks by Islamic State group jihadists that shocked the world, 130 people were killed that day.
   
Koons, who is known for toying with objects from popular culture, said the hand holding the tulips in his massive sculpture is intended to mimic the Statue of Liberty grasping its torch.
 
At least the Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo was positive about the sculpture.
 
"The fact that this great artist has decided to offer to the city of Paris... a monumental artwork is a symbol of generosity and sharing, and shows our capital's ties with the United States are unbreakable," Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said when the gift was announced in 2016.
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