The pressure is on for the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the most recent hosts of the retrospective of Jeff Koons, the king of kitsch. As 43% of tickets are purchased from June through September, this season is vital for both Bilbao and the Spanish tourist department.
Itziar Zarandona, a head of the Ministry of Economic Development, said in a statement that his team is hoping that the retrospective will bring in much needed tourist dollars. The museum similarly praised the artist’s marketability and wide appeal as they state on their site that Koons’ work lacks “the aura of inaccessibility that surrounds other contemporary works of art,” and goes on to say that “his instantly recognizable creations appeal to the general public and draw on countless art historical sources.”
With Koons’ track record, curators and the department of tourism are sure to be pleased. When the show aired at the Pompidou in Paris from November 26, 2014 to April 26, 2015, ticket sales were through the roof with over 650,000 visitors. This broke records making the Koons’ show “the most successful exhibition by a living artist in the nearly four-decade history of the institution”, according to The Observer. In New York, 320,000 visitors passed through The Whitney’s doors during the retrospective’s three-month stint, which encouraged the museum to stay open for 36-hours straight, as the line stretched on night and day.
The retrospective displays a vast array of the pieces that have made Koons an icon over the past decades, including Rabbit, and Balloon Dog. These pieces should feel right at home with Bilbao’s permanent installation Puppy, a 43-foot tall topiary sculpture that has greeted visitors since 1997.
The retrospective will be open to the public until September 27, 2015. Flights to Spain are less than $1,000…who’s coming with me??