Jeff Koons' Latest 'Conceptual' Rip Off

While The New Yorker and perhaps, the art world at large hails Jeff Koons as the most "original, controversial, and expensive artist" of the past thirty years, many would disagree on the ‘original’ part. Expensive? Sure. Controversial? Definitely. Koons has so far lost two out of three copyright infringement cases filed against him.

Though Jeff Koons is known as an appropriation artist — producing conceptual pieces to comment on trends of contemporary culture — many would argue that this appropriation’ crosses the line into plagiarism. Now, Koons is being sued by French ad-artist Franck Davidovici, for ripping off his 1985 advertisement for clothing brand Naf Naf in the sculpture Fait d’Hiver (1988) — an edition of which apparently sold for 4.3 million. Davidovici’s 1985 ad for the brand’s Fall/Winter campaign depicts a short haired woman lying in the snow, while a small pig with a barrel around its neck seems to be smelling her hair. The ad is also called, Fait d’Hiver. Jeff Koon’s 1988 sculpture also features a similar looking woman lying in snow with a barrel-sporting pig approaching her head. This time, the pig is wearing a lei around it’s neck and is accompanied by a few penguins. Koons’ lawyers claim this is a fair "use by parody," a provision in the US copyright law, but he may not be protected under this clause.

A copy of the sculpture is currently on view at the Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris.

Photo: Courtesy Christie’s via artnet Price Database

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