American artist Jeff Koons has certainly had his share of controversy in France. Only yesterday, he lost another copyright infringement case – an appeal on a French fashion ad plagiarism suit. It would appear that Paris doesn’t have warm feelings uniformly for the blue-chip artist ever since the installment of his Tulip sculpture, which was meant to pay tributes to victims of the 2015 terror attacks that left 130 people dead. It was a well-meaning bouquet that divided opinions, to say the least.
Now it appears that a masked monkey is taunting Koons’ tulips again here, only a few meters away from the Champs Elysées.
Attributed to the Bristol-born street intervention artist Unikz, who has goaded and criticized people and institutions using his work in the past, the artist installed a monkey wearing a red mask offering the springtime flowers as well, minus the three that he is clumsily trampling underfoot.
Local photographer and businessman Olivier Krafft says the monkey and the method are in alignment with the previous works in public space by the mocking artist – where Unikz “installed giant rats in Paris during the contemporary art fair in 2018 on the Champs Elysées and placed masked rats lifting “Ratcoin” in front of the Palais Broignard.”
As is often the case with interventionist sculpture, this one has been standing for several days in public space without authorities’ comment. According to Krafft, who happened upon the installation, the artist told him that park authorities didn’t realize that he was doing some monkey business, and they left him alone to do his work. “It’s funny because the gardeners of the Ville de Paris thought he was a Jeff Koons assistant and the monkey was a part of the bouquet of tulips!”