1995｜High chromium stainless steel with transparent color coating｜203.2x457.2x520.7 cm
Tulips, a bouquet of multicolor balloon flowers blown up to gargantuan proportions (more than 2 meters tall and 5 meters across), belongs to the ambitious Celebration series, initiated by Koons in 1994. Focusing on the kinds of generic, mass-produced objects associated with birthday parties, holidays, and other festive events—from a party hat and a piece of cake to Easter eggs and hearts—the Celebration paintings and sculptures reflect Koons's continued engagement with the emblems of childhood. With its immaculate, reflective stainless-steel surfaces, Tulips recalls earlier works by the artist such as Rabbit (1986), which similarly transformed a banal inflatable object into something hard, gleaming, and iconic. In Tulips and in the balloon animals that populate the Celebration series, as in his towering Puppy (1992), Koons has manipulated scale, as well as materials, to uncanny ends. While Tulips might evoke the large industrial forms of certain Minimalist sculptures, the buoyant, colorful sculpture equally brings to mind a jaunty parade float.
© Jeff Koons