Jeff Koons’s Balloon Monkey Wall Relief (Blue) is being offered to benefit the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC), a global organization working to advance child protection and safeguard children from sexual abuse, exploitation and abduction.
Founded in 1998, ICMEC empowers and equips global partners – in government, academia, law enforcement, private industry and the NGO community – to make the world a safer place for children through research-based advocacy, training, technical assistance, and a collaborative approach to addressing these issues. Among ICMEC’s key accomplishments are: the direct training of over 6,000 law enforcement officers from 122 countries; the refinement or implementation of new laws against child pornography in over 100 countries; the growing commemoration of International Missing Children’s Day, which has been memorialized in 17 countries across 4 continents since 2001; and the creation of a 23 member Global Missing Children’s Network.
Jeff and Justine Koons are longtime friends and supporters of ICMEC. Their passion for and dedication to the organization’s work inspired the creation of The Koons Family Institute on International Law & Policy within ICMEC. Through research-based advocacy, The Koons Family Institute elevates ICMEC’s work on the global stage. To date, it has produced more than 28 independent research reports (published in more than ten languages) that underscore the immense need for a cohesive and unified global response to combatting childhood exploitation and abduction.
“The Koons Family Institute is catalyzing a global movement to protect the world’s children,” says Jeff Koons, an ICMEC board member and a victim parent who has lived through the anguish of international child abduction himself. “Children are being exploited and abducted in every country around the world,” he says. “We need your help to save them.”
Balloon Monkey Wall Relief (Blue) is one of Koons’s most recognizable forms and continues the trajectory of his history of wall relief. This is the most monumental wall relief that Koons has made to date. Evoking his famed Celebration series, the wall relief conveys the artist’s recurrent interest in air-filled forms, which stand for metaphors for the human condition. A reference to the monumental Balloon Monkey sculpture from 2006-2011, in five unique colors, the work achieves the greatest tension between representation and abstraction in an incredibly seductive, monochrome finish that grants stainless steel and the humble balloon monkey an apotheosis. The sheer beauty of its materiality is designed to entice and captivate, while its form is endowed with the joyful associations of childhood, hope and innocence.
The jaunty figure of the monkey elicits a sense of laughter and joy. The body is pyramidal, forming a strong base for the stacked spheres of head and neck, and the cantilevered tail. The subject has been reduced to its basic essence yet it remains easily identifiable as a monkey in repose, its jaunty tail hinting at the creature’s lively character. The monkey, a reoccurring motif within Koons’s oeuvre, have come to serve a significant allegorical function in art and culture for many thousands of years.
The proceeds from the sale of Balloon Monkey Wall Relief (Blue) will be used by ICMEC to continue their vital work of protecting some of the world’s most vulnerable children and expand their work in empowering and equipping their global partners—in government, academia, law enforcement, private industry and the NGO community—to make the world a safer place