“Coloring Book,” the widely debated sculpture by artist Jeff Koons, was formally unveiled outside downtown Sacramento’s Golden 1 Center on Monday.
As U2’s “Beautiful Day” echoed through the arena’s grand public plaza at Fifth and K streets, the $8 million artwork inspired by a child coloring an image of Piglet was introduced to an audience of the city’s political and artistic elite. Mayor Kevin Johnson said the work “will get global attention.”
“I predict this will be the selfie capital of the state capital of the sixth-largest economy in the world,” Sacramento Kings chairman Vivek Ranadive said.
The sculpture is a reflective, 18-foot piece set atop a pedestal near the arena’s main entrance. Koons told the audience that a viewer’s interaction with the art would change depending on their point of view and the time of the day.
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“It always wants to be a part of your community and participate,” he said.
The Koons sculpture is part of roughly $10 million worth of public art that will adorn the inside and outside of Golden 1 Center.
Sacramento artist Bryan Valenzuela is finishing an art installation that will hang above an escalator well near the arena’s southwest entrance. The piece will consist of 400 glass spheres dangling from cables suspended from the ceiling. Valenzuela’s work is inspired by the convergence of the Sacramento and American rivers.
Gale Hart, known by many as the “godmother of contemporary art” in Sacramento, is finishing her piece outside the arena, along the L Street sidewalk and in the public entrance to the site at Fifth and L. The work, called “Missing the Mark,” is made up of a series of 10-foot darts made of stainless steel and fiberglass sticking into the ground. One of the darts will eventually stick out of a parking garage across L Street from the arena.
Hart said it was vital to have art play a central role in the arena.
“You have an experience from the time you walk up Seventh Street to when you enter the arena,” she said. “There’s art to see everywhere. You put up a building this grand, you have to have that.”
The city contributed $2.5 million to the purchase of the Koons sculpture out of its Art in Public Places ordinance, which requires a percentage of the budget of public construction projects be set aside for art. Ranadive and other Kings owners came up with the rest of the money.
The works by Hart, Valenzuela and San Francisco sound artist Bill Fontana were supported by a $1 million contribution by local arts patron Marcy Friedman.