Helen Papagiannis

Koons

Helen Papagiannis
Koons

Jeff Koons's 1986 sculpture "Rabbit" broke the record for the most expensive artwork sold at auction by a living artist. But do you remember the Augmented Reality version?

Koons's playful Pop art "Rabbit" recently sold for $91 million in auction at Christie’s in New York. Christie's described the sculpture as "one of the most iconic works of 20th-century art."

American artist Jeff Koons poses in 2009 with "Rabbit" at the Tate Modern. Photo: Ben Stansall

American artist Jeff Koons poses in 2009 with "Rabbit" at the Tate Modern. Photo: Ben Stansall

The sculpture is one from of an edition of three (in addition to one artist's proof). The Broad Foundation in Los Angeles has one, and the third has been promised to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago by its owners, according to Christie's. But there’s a FOURTH. And it’s virtual.

In 2017, Snapchat brought Pop art to its platform with a Koons collaboration. The partnership featured Koons’s sculptures in AR Lenses for Snapchat inspired by some of his most famous sculptures: Balloon Dog (Yellow)Balloon SwanPopeye, Play-Doh, and Rabbit.

These virtual art installations appeared in major parks and landmarks worldwide, including in the US, Canada, UK, Paris, Australia, and Brazil. Locations included Central Park, New York City; Millennium Park, Chicago; National Mall, Washington D.C.; Venice Boardwalk, Los Angeles; Roundhouse Park, Toronto; Hyde Park, London; Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro; Sydney Opera House, Sydney; and Champ de Mars (Eiffel Tower), Paris.

Jeff Koons collaboration with Snapchat featuring an AR version of “Rabbit” in Paris, France.

Jeff Koons collaboration with Snapchat featuring an AR version of “Rabbit” in Paris, France.

Although the original stainless-steel sculpture stands at just over 3 feet high, the AR Rabbit towered over visitors enjoying it through their smartphones in Paris. The Lens is no longer available, which begs the question: how much is the AR “Rabbit” worth?