"I think that Puppy is successful because it deals with the issue of control and giving up the control. Control is necessary in the creation of the work, but then control has to be given up".
In the wake of the controversy triggered by Made in Heaven, Koons brought to critics and audiences what would become one of his most iconic and best-loved creations, Puppy. This enormous flower-strewn West Highland white terrier was temporarily installed in 1992 in the great courtyard of the Waldeck baroque castle in the German town of Bad Arolsen, near Kassel where Documenta IX was being held. That first version, which stood 11 meters tall, was made of wood and was dismantled at the end of the project. Koons later created a rendition with a steel frame, which was acquired in 1997 for the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao Collection and given a permanent home in front of the museum building in September of that year, just in time for the museum’s inauguration.
In this piece, whose theme ties in with his earlier series Banality and Made in Heaven, the flowering of the plants is key because it entails an uneven, riotous pattern of growth that gives the work a life of its own, alluding to the power of life in both its physical and spiritual dimensions.