Controversy about Jeff Koons exhibition: plagiarism?

Published on 31 December 2014 categories 

An exhibition of the Banality sculpture series by American artist Jeff Koons at the Centre Pompidou in Paris has caused quite an uproar. The artist has been accused of plagiarism and the Pompidou decided to remove Koons’ porcelain sculpture Fait d’Hiver from the exhibition.


What is all the fuss about? French fashion label NAF NAF claims that Koons based his 1988 sculpture Fait d’Hiver on its 1985 advertising campaign, which carried the same title and depicted – as does Koons’ work – a pig and a reclining woman’s head, upper torso and arms. According to NAF NAF, it is a case of plagiarism, i.e. copyright infringement.

In addition, the widow of French photographer Jean-Francois Bauret complained about another one of Koons’ works. She claims that Naked, a porcelain sculpture of a nude young boy and girl, is based on one of her late husband’s photo portraits.


It is not the first time for Koons to be accused of copyright infringement: legal proceedings were conducted in the past about two other works in his Banality series. All sculptures in this series are based on existing images and two of them were ruled copyright infringements. Koons defended his works by claiming that they were parodies, but the courts rejected that defence.


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