Groninger Museum to display Koons work at Amsterdam store

10 april 2017

Monday 10 April 2017 marks 100 years since the French artist Marcel Duchamp put a urinal in an exhibition. He named it Fountain, and in doing so, he made an everyday object into a work of art. A century later, the Groninger Museum will honour Duchamp by reversing his act. The museum will send a notable artwork from its collection, Jeff Koons’ Christ and the Lamb, out into the world to serve a non-artistic function. The piece will be on show at the Amsterdam department store de Bijenkorf through Thursday 13 April.

‘Can we try to define art?’ – Marcel Duchamp
After Duchamp's action in 1917, everything and nothing could be art. Experts and non-experts are often confounded by contemporary artists’ creations. However inscrutable much contemporary art may appear, every progressive artist must, in a way, reckon with Duchamp’s revolutionary act a century ago. 

Jeff Koons’ Christ and the Lamb
In commemoration, the museum has deliberately chosen a key work by one of the most successful living artists: the American Jeff Koons (1955). Christ and the Lamb was produced in 1988 and acquired by the Groninger Museum in 1994. The work is a mirror incorporating 18th-century stylistic elements. Its shape is derived from Leonardo da Vinci’s 1510 painting The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne, which depicts Mary, her mother, the baby Jesus, and a lamb against a landscape background. The painting resides in the Musée du Louvre in Paris. 
Koons’ piece plays with art history and the viewer’s expectations. When the viewer looks at the work, he or she sees not only it but also him- or herself; it is a mirror, after all. It is this function that the Groninger Museum will highlight in the department store. Christ and the Lamb will be on view in the accessories department of de Bijenkorf’s Amsterdam branch for a week. There, staff, customers, art lovers and the general public will experience the work in a unique way. 

Work to return home on Good Friday 
Christ and the Lamb will return to the Groninger Museum on 14 April, Good Friday. There, it will hang in a gallery with other objects, each of which responds to art from an earlier era. 
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NOTE FOR THE EDITOR

For more information and illustrative material, please contact the Groninger Museum, Department of Communication, PR & Marketing:
Willemien Bouwers, wbouwers@groningermuseum.nl,  +31 (0)50 3666 510
Karina Smrkovsky, ksmrkovsky@groningermuseum.nl,  +31 (0)50 3666 512