Bal Harbour

Spring 2016

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74 BAL HARBOUR With art and fashion in a perpetual lovelock, viewing contemporary works in a shopping mall doesn't seem to be all that unusual. Unless said work is Jeff Koons' Pluto and Proserpina—an 11- foot-tall, gold-coated, mirror-polished, stainless-steel homage to a Greek myth—which is nothing short of jaw-dropping. After being shown in New York, Paris, Bilbao and Florence, the sculpture was shipped to Miami and unveiled in all of its startling splendor as part of the Bal Harbour Shops' half-century anniversary. It will remain in the complex's porte-cochère through the spring, on temporary loan from the Argentine developer Eduardo Costantini, an assiduous art collector. Costantini's intent is to make Pluto and Proserpina the artistic centerpiece of his 28-story Oceana Bal Harbour residential tower, under construction a short walk away on Collins Avenue. It will keep company with another Koons piece, Ballerina, which is still being created at the artist's workshop in Germany. Both sculptures are part of his Antiquity series, in which Koons—who famously delved into far baser concepts in his youth—revisits classical themes and adapts them to suit his idiosyncratic, fluorescent vision. Once the Oceana is finished this fall, Pluto and Proserpina will greet residents of the tower from a reflecting pool in the center of a 60-foot- tall breezeway that is to bisect the building. In a sense, the sculpture will still be public art, since it will be visible from the street. "It will transform the space and add magic," Costantini said by phone from his office at the Museum of Latin American Art of Buenos Aires, which he founded. The breezeway at Oceana will be its permanent home, Costantini said, "as if it were part of the furniture." In a videotaped interview for Oceana, Koons described Pluto and Proserpina as a "symbol of passions and of energy of life. The color yellow— gold—is like the sun, very, very bright in its intensity. You feel a continuation of life energy. It is about seasons changing, too, of going to the underworld and coming back up." Although the sculpture immediately suggests a sumptuous palette, Koons noted that he prefers not to work with luxurious materials. "I have always worked with stainless steel, a symbol of the proletariat," he said. Rather than 24-karat gold, the sculpture "wants to be in a color that has all the energy of life and of true value, true excitement and possibility." In any case, the "economic aspect" of the work is not what counts. "The value in the piece," Koons concluded, "is the art that you find in yourself, the possibility, the excitement you feel." MIDAS TOUCH A celebrated Jeff Koons sculpture finds a new home at Bal Harbour Shops. BY NICK MADIGAN Developer Eduardo Costantini with Jeff Koons' Pluto and Proserpina. PHOTO BY KOREY DAVIS

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