134
134

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE NEW YORK COLLECTION

Jeff Koons
SOCCERBALL (MOLTEN)
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Guaranteed Property. The seller of lots with this symbol has been guaranteed a minimum price from one auction or a series of auctions. If every lot in a catalogue is guaranteed, the Conditions of Sale will so state and this symbol will not be used for each lot.
180,000250,000
LOT SOLD. 375,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
134

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE NEW YORK COLLECTION

Jeff Koons
SOCCERBALL (MOLTEN)
Estimate
Irrevocable Bids
Lots with this symbol indicate that a party has provided Sotheby’s with an irrevocable bid on the lot that will be executed during the sale at a value that ensures that the lot will sell. The irrevocable bidder, who may bid in excess of the irrevocable bid, will be compensated based on the final hammer price in the event he or she is not the successful bidder or may receive a fixed fee in the event he or she is the successful bidder. If the irrevocable bidder is the successful bidder, the fixed fee (if applicable) for providing the irrevocable bid may be netted against the irrevocable bidder’s obligation to pay the full purchase price for the lot and the purchase price reported for the lot shall be net of such fixed fee. If the irrevocable bid is not secured until after the printing of the auction catalogue, a pre-lot announcement will be made indicating that there is an irrevocable bid on the lot. If the irrevocable bidder is advising anyone with respect to the lot, Sotheby’s requires the irrevocable bidder to disclose his or her financial interest in the lot. If an agent is advising you or bidding on your behalf with respect to a lot identified as being subject to an irrevocable bid, you should request that the agent disclose whether or not he or she has a financial interest in the lot.
Double Dagger
Indicates that the lot is being sold whilst subject to Temporary Importation, and that VAT is due at the reduced rate
Guaranteed Property
Guaranteed Property. The seller of lots with this symbol has been guaranteed a minimum price from one auction or a series of auctions. If every lot in a catalogue is guaranteed, the Conditions of Sale will so state and this symbol will not be used for each lot.
180,000250,000
LOT SOLD. 375,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Day Auction

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Jeff Koons
B. 1955
SOCCERBALL (MOLTEN)
bronze
19 by 19 by 19 cm. 7 1/2 by 7 1/2 by 7 1/2 in.
Executed in 1985, this work is number 2 from an edition of 3, plus 1 artist's proof.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

International With Monument, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner

Literature

Allan Schwartzman, 'The Yippie-Yuppie Artist', Manhatten Inc, No. 12, December 1987, p. 140 (text)(ed. no. unknown)
Corinne Robins, 'Goods and No-So-Goods: 60s/80s  Sculpture Parallels.', Arts Magazine, No. 10, June 1988, p. 64 (text)(ed. no. unknown)
Angelika Muthesius, Ed., Jeff Koons, Cologne 1992, p. 62, no. 14, illustrated in colour; p. 166 (text)(ed. no. unknown)
Jeff Koons and Anthony d'Offay Gallery, The Jeff Koons Handbook, London 1992, p. 155 (text)
Moritz Wullen and Bernd Ebert, Der Ball ist rund: Kreis, Kugel, Kosmos/ The Ball is Round: Circle, Sphere and Cosmos, Berlin 2006, illustrated in colour (cover), p. 160, illustrated in colour (ed. no. unknown)
Hans Werner Holzwarth, Ed., Jeff Koons, Cologne 2008, p. 160, illustrated in colour (ed. no. unknown)

Catalogue Note

A precursor to the artist’s use of fabricated inflatables, Jeff Koons’s Soccerball (Molten) is a seminal bronze from his iconic Equilibrium series. As Koons explains “inflatables, of course, are metaphors for people and they are metaphors of life and optimism for me” (Jeff Koons in conversation with Ruth Lopex, in: Chicago Magazine, June 2008, online). At once aesthetically alluring and meticulously fabricated, this sculpture speaks to the very heart of Koons’ relationship with inflatables.

Koons came to public attention with his 1985 show Equilibrium at International with Monument Gallery in New York. This solo exhibition debuted his first bronze sculptures, an array of Nike posters, and the now-famous Equilibrium Tanks, which contain basketballs floating miraculously in water-filled fish tanks. Writing about the series Daniela Salvioni aptly states that “Koons manipulates objects into metaphorical embodiments of society’s dysfunctions. This poetics of objects recalls Jasper Johns’ cast-bronze beer cans, in which an ordinary object becomes endowed with a surplus of meaning, and the surrealist tactic of juxtaposing unexpected elements, as in Meret Oppenheim’s fur-covered teacup” (Daniela Salvioni, ‘Jeff Koons’s Poetics of Class’, in: Exh. Cat., San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Jeff Koons, 1992, p. 20). Dealing with the broader issues of social mobility, Soccerball (Molten), and the Equilibrium series as a whole, broach the aspirational promises promoted by consumer culture – specifically those that target the under-privileged. In inner-city areas, professional sports are considered by many as the quintessential way out. Within the field of sport, ball sports such as basketball and football are the urban choice, suited to small backyards and inexpensive equipment. Koons glorified these in the present work, therefore, as tantalising and precarious metaphors for upward social mobility. The artist elaborates, “white middle-class kids have been using art the same way that other ethnic groups have been using basketball – for social mobility. You could take one of those basketball stars, Dr. Dunkenstein, or the Secretary of Defense, and one could have been me, or Baselitz, or whoever” (Angelika Muthesius, Jeff Koons, Cologne 1992, p. 19).

Impossibility and unsustainability are essential themes in the Koons’ Equilibrium series, and Soccerball (Molten) embodies these themes with undeniable sprezzatura. The meticulous cast and the rich colour of bronze arouse our curiosity and create a unique viewing sensation that is simultaneously solemn and buoyant, exciting and somber. Simultaneously, Soccerball (Molten) operates intellectually by allowing us to question, through the medium of sculpture, the act of preservation. Koons’ attempts to render all of the objects in his Equilibrium series useless. This is the state of equilibrium or balance toward which the entire Equilibrium series aspires, as the artwork is harmonised for the present, existing in stasis, almost inaccessible.

Contemporary Art Day Auction

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