Modern art followers will recognize the name Jeff Koons. For decades, he’s crafted installations ranging from an aluminum balloon dog weighing 1 ton to a Spalding basketball that remained suspended in distilled water for years. Now, Christie’s auction house is preparing to put one of his most deceptively ambitious projects up for bid. Play-Doh is expected to fetch $20 million when it goes up May 17 as part of its postwar and contemporary art showcase.
In 1994, Koons began work on a series of five giant aluminum sculptures, all created to resemble a coagulated lump of Play-Doh that the artist’s young son once presented to him. Standing 11 feet tall, Play-Doh is not hollow: Koons cast plaster molds that his art team used to make 24 solid aluminum pieces that lock together, many of them etched to reflect the irregular cracks that real Play-Doh produces.
The work presented a logistical problem for Christie’s. It's so large that their building's doors had to be reconfigured and cranes implemented to assemble and move it. With the auction house taking a premium of the expected closing bid, it has undoubtedly been time well spent.