Jeff Koons Sued for Appropriating Photograph Used in Gin Advertisement

Jeff Koons, I Could Go for Something Gordon's, 1986. COURTESY THE ARTIST

Jeff Koons, I Could Go for Something Gordon’s, 1986.


The Telegraph reports that Jeff Koons is being sued by photographer Mitchel Gray for the artist’s use of one of his photographs for the 1986 painting I Could Go for Something Gordon’s. Gray’s picture was originally reproduced in a Gordon’s gin advertisement, and Gray claims not to have known about Koons’s painting of the ad until now, despite the fact that the work has been widely exhibited. (It could be seen in last year’s Koons retrospective at the Whitney, and the museum’s website features extensive information about the painting.)

The work comes from Koons’s 1986 series “Luxury and Degradation,” which features a number of paintings that are enlarged reproductions of liquor advertisements. Except for its size, I Could Go for Something Gordon’s is otherwise an exact replica of the original advertisement, as are many other works in this series. (Also included in the series are a number of stainless-steel sculptures.) “I never wanted real luxury, instead,” Koons is quoted as saying of the works, on the Whitney’s site, “I wanted proletarian luxury, something visually intoxicating, disorienting.”

Four other works by Koons have been the subject of legal action over the years, the most recent being Fait d’Hiver (1988), a sculpture that a French adman found to be based on his own photograph when he saw the work in December of last year. Koons was also sued in 1992, 1993, and 2006. He won the 2006 suit, over a photograph by Andrea Blanch that Koons appropriated for his 2000 painting Niagara.

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