Jeff Koons's Puppy Sculpture, at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Is Donning a Face Mask

Puppy by artist Jeff Koons is now sporting a face mask.
Puppy by artist Jeff Koons is now sporting a face mask.
Erika Ede/Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

Artist Jeff Koons’s Puppy sculpture located at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Bilbao, Spain, has always been dynamic. The 40-foot-tall depiction of a West Highland Terrier is made of flower mantles that change with the seasons. From begonias and petunias in spring and summer to pansies in winter, it’s never exactly the same thing twice.

Now Koons is offering another variation on Puppy—a face mask made from flowers.

The addition was made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that’s radically altered life for citizens worldwide and serves as a reminder that public health policy could save lives.

“What an honor it is to be able to have Puppy communicate the importance of wearing a mask during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Koons said in a press release. “A Bilbao resident sent me a letter asking if Puppy could wear a mask, which I thought was wonderful idea. I was thrilled that the Museum agreed as now Puppy, adorned with a mask made of white and blue flowers, can communicate the importance of wearing a mask to protect against the spread of COVID-19.

"One of the most important acts that we can make to each other during this pandemic is to share information on how we can protect each other. I can imagine that the Puppy has appreciated all of the love shown toward it and is so happy to communicate safety and well-being to the citizens of Bilbao and the world.”

Puppy has been in residence since the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao opened in 1997. Koons has made a career of outsized sculptures. His Balloon Dog sold for $58.4 million in 2013.

10 Reusable Gifts for Your Eco-Friendliest Friend

Disposable tea bags can't compete with this pla-tea-pus and his friends.
Disposable tea bags can't compete with this pla-tea-pus and his friends.

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By this point, your eco-friendly pal probably has a reusable water bottle that accompanies them everywhere and some sturdy grocery totes that keep their plastic-bag count below par. Here are 10 other sustainable gift ideas that’ll help them in their conservation efforts.

1. Reusable Produce Bags; $13

No more staticky plastic bags.Naturally Sensible/Amazon

The complimentary plastic produce bags in grocery stores aren’t great, but neither is having all your spherical fruits and vegetables roll pell-mell down the checkout conveyor belt. Enter the perfect alternative: mesh bags that are nylon, lightweight, and even machine-washable.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Animal Tea Infusers; $16

Nothing like afternoon tea with your tiny animal friends.DecorChic/Amazon

Saying goodbye to disposable tea bags calls for a quality tea diffuser, and there’s really no reason why it shouldn’t be shaped like an adorable animal. This “ParTEA Pack” includes a hippo, platypus, otter, cat, and owl, which can all hang over the edge of a glass or mug. (In other words, you won’t have to fish them out with your fingers or dirty a spoon when your loose leaf is done steeping.)

Buy it: Amazon

3. Rocketbook Smart Notebook; $25

Typing your notes on a tablet or laptop might save trees, but it doesn’t quite capture the feeling of writing on paper with a regular pen. The Rocketbook, on the other hand, does. After you’re finished filling a page with sketches, musings, or whatever else, you scan it into the Rocketbook app with your smartphone, wipe it clean with the microfiber cloth, and start again. This one also comes with a compatible pen, but any PILOT FriXion pens will do.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Food Huggers; $13

"I'm a hugger!"Food Huggers/Amazon

It’s hard to compete with the convenience of plastic wrap or tin foil when it comes to covering the exposed end of a piece of produce or an open tin can—and keeping those leftovers in food storage containers can take up valuable space in the fridge. This set of five silicone Food Huggers stretch to fit over a wide range of circular goods, from a lidless jar to half a lemon.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Swiffer Mop Pads; $15

For floors that'll shine like the top of the Chrysler Building.Turbo Microfiber/Amazon

Swiffers may be much less unwieldy than regular mops, but the disposable pads present a problem to anyone who likes to keep their trash output to a minimum. These machine-washable pads fasten to the bottom of any Swiffer WetJet, and the thick microfiber will trap dirt and dust instead of pushing it into corners. Each pad lasts for at least 100 uses, so you’d be saving your eco-friendly friend quite a bit of money, too.

Buy it: Amazon

6. SodaStream for Sparkling Water; $69

A fondness for fizzy over flat water doesn’t have to mean buying it bottled. Not only does the SodaStream let you make seltzer at home, but it’s also small enough that it won’t take up too much precious counter space. SodaStream also sells flavor drops to give your home-brewed beverage even more flair—this pack from Amazon ($25) includes mango, orange, raspberry, lemon, and lime.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Washable Lint Roller; $13

Roller dirty.iLifeTech/Amazon

There’s a good chance that anyone with a pet (or just an intense dislike for lint) has lint-rolled their way through countless sticky sheets. iLifeTech’s reusable roller boasts “the power of glue,” which doesn’t wear off even after you’ve washed it. Each one also comes with a 3-inch travel-sized version, so you can stay fuzz-free on the go.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Countertop Compost Bin; $23

Like a tiny Tin Man for your table.Epica/Amazon

Even if you keep a compost pile in your own backyard, it doesn’t make sense to dash outside every time you need to dump a food scrap. A countertop compost bin can come in handy, especially if it kills odors and blends in with your decor. This 1.3-gallon pail does both. It’s made of stainless steel—which matches just about everything—and contains an activated-charcoal filter that prevents rancid peels and juices from stinking up your kitchen.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Fabric-Softening Dryer Balls; $17

Also great for learning how to juggle without breaking anything.Smart Sheep

Nobody likes starchy, scratchy clothes, but some people might like blowing through bottles of fabric softener and boxes of dryer sheets even less. Smart Sheep is here to offer a solution: wool dryer balls. Not only do they last for more than 1000 loads, they also dry your laundry faster. And since they don’t contain any chemicals, fragrances, or synthetic materials, they’re a doubly great option for people with allergies and/or sensitive skin.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Rechargeable Batteries; $40

Say goodbye to loose batteries in your junk drawer.eneloop/Amazon

While plenty of devices are rechargeable themselves, others still require batteries to buzz, whir, and change the TV channel—so it’s good to have some rechargeable batteries on hand. In addition to AA batteries, AAA batteries, and a charger, this case from Panasonic comes with tiny canisters that function as C and D batteries when you slip the smaller batteries into them.

Buy it: Amazon

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7 Fascinating Facts About Henri Matisse

Alvin Langdon Coburn, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
Alvin Langdon Coburn, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

As one of the greatest colorists of the 20th century, Henri Matisse largely shaped modern art. He frequently experimented with different media, styles, and art movements throughout his career, influenced by the artists with whom he surrounded himself. One of his most famous works is Woman with a Hat (1905), a significant example of the Fauvist movement in French art. Aside from paintings, he produced drawings, sculptures, and graphic art as well. Here are seven interesting facts about Henri Matisse’s life as an artist.

1. Henri Matisse studied law and worked as a clerk.

Even though Matisse is known for his artistic mastery, he was originally set on becoming a lawyer. He studied law, passed the bar, and worked as a clerk for a law office. He attended drawing classes in the morning before going to the office. Matisse’s father wanted Henri, his eldest child, to eventually take over the family grain business—but Henri wasn’t interested.

2. While recovering from appendicitis, Henri Matisse found his passion.

Matisse suffered from appendicitis when he was young, and it changed the course of his life. After his surgery, he was confined to a bed for months. The long recovery period bored him so much that his mother gave him a paint box to lift his spirits. It was this pivotal moment that helped him discover his passion for art. He loved the freedom that it gave him, and once said it felt like "a kind of paradise." After leaving his job as a law clerk and defying his father's wish for him to take over the business, he moved to Paris to fully pursue art.

3. Henri Matisse had a rivalry with Pablo Picasso.

Matisse and Picasso first met at a gathering in the salon of American novelist and art collector Gertrude Stein, who supported both of their careers. Initially, they disliked each other, but they respected one other as artists and became lifelong friends despite their competitive natures. Matisse himself even compared their relationship to a boxing match. "No one has ever looked at Matisse's paintings more carefully than I; and no one has looked at mine more carefully than he,” Picasso once said.

4. Henri Matisse and his wife, Amélie, blended personal and professional interests.

Matisse married Amélie Parayre, the unconventional daughter of a liberal schoolteacher, in 1898. As Matisse’s reputation for wildly innovative painting developed, Amélie became his artistic muse, model, and business manager. In 1935, Matisse hired a Russian refugee named Lydia Delectorskaya as a model, and they shared a deep understanding of Matisse’s art. Amélie was jealous of that partnership, and the Matisses separated in July 1939. After a brief absence, Delectorskaya returned to Matisse and worked for him until his death.

5. Henri Matisse developed the technique of “painting with scissors.”

Matisse’s surgery for abdominal cancer in 1941 effected his mobility, and afterwards he couldn’t stand for long periods of time. But his art entered a new, brilliant phase during his recovery. Matisse developed the technique of “painting with scissors” in which he cut painted papers into shapes and arranged them on his walls. He recut, combined, and assembled until he was content with the outcome.

6. Henri Matisse’s final work was the design for a stained-glass window.

The last work that Matisse completed before his death in 1954 was La Rosace, a circular stained-glass window [PDF]. Future New York governor Nelson Rockefeller commissioned it as a memorial for his mother, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, an art patron who was a great admirer of Matisse. “Nothing would have pleased mother more,” he wrote to a colleague. It was installed at the Union Church of Pocantico Hills in Tarrytown, New York, where it remains today.

7. Henri Matisse’s daughter compiled a comprehensive record of his work.

Marguerite Duthuit, Matisse’s daughter with model Caroline Joblaud, was born four years before he married Amélie and modeled for him over several decades. She also served as her father’s assistant and archivist. After his death, Marguerite compiled the definitive record of Matisse’s artistic process and a catalog of his paintings. She was working on the final stages of the catalog when she died of a heart attack at age 87.