July 5, 2017

Jeff Koons gifts "Beautiful Work"

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Jeff Koons. Photo: Chris Fanning.

Renowned artist Jeff Koons has donated a piece of artwork to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), to benefit the School’s fundraising campaign, Beautiful/Work: The Campaign for SAIC.

The piece, titled Gazing Ball (Stool), 2013–2016, is made of polychromed stainless steel, wood, glass, and aluminum. Koons’ Gazing Ball series has been exhibited among some of history’s most famous paintings and sculptures as reinterpreted by the artist. A bright blue bauble was also featured on the cover of Lady Gaga’s 2013 album ArtPop. Valued at 1 million USD, the piece will be sold to establish the Jeff Koons Scholarship Fund, which will provide need- and merit-based scholarships to undergraduate students.

Koons’ gift will contribute to the more than 46 million USD raised to date as part of Beautiful/Work: The Campaign for SAIC. Coming off of a year-long celebration of its 150th anniversary, the School launched the public phase of its $50 million fundraising campaign just one year ago. More than 1,700 individual donors have made contributions, and alumni have donated a record 10.5 million USD.

“In addition to being a strong show of support for student scholarships and the Beautiful/Work campaign, Jeff’s leadership provides a powerful example of an alum giving back to SAIC,” said SAIC President Elissa Tenny. “We are incredibly grateful for the generous support of Jeff and our alumni community in giving SAIC students increased access, opportunities and resources to help shape our world.”

Koons came to SAIC to study under Chicago Imagists and SAIC alumni Ed Paschke and Jim Nutt, an experience he’s described as being transformational in his development as an artist. In 2008, SAIC awarded Jeff an honorary doctorate for his tremendously influential and thought-provoking career and work, some of which is on display in the Art Institute of Chicago.

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