Art and Design | Jeff Koons | New York | News

Massive Jeff Koons Dangling Locomotive Sculpture Proposed for NYC's High Line Park


A train may soon return to the High Line, the abandoned elevated train track which is now NYC's most popular new park, the NYT reports:

The sculpture, by Jeff Koons, would be a full-size replica of a 1943 Baldwin 2900 steam locomotive. Called simply “Train,” it has not yet been fabricated. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has conducted its own feasibility studies for the project and is still exploring the possibility of acquiring the artwork, which is estimated to cost at least $25 million to create and install.

But Mr. Koons, a polarizing artist whose most famous public sculpture is perhaps his 43-foot-tall flower-covered puppy, has recently been in talks with Robert Hammond and Joshua David, founders of the nonprofit conservancy Friends of the High Line. The group, which fought to save the railway from demolition and now manages the park, will honor Mr. Koons at its annual benefit in May.

It would also not be a passive acquisition:

The sculpture, to be constructed of steel and carbon fiber, would weigh several tons. It would also occasionally spin its wheels, blow a horn and emit steam.

Friends of the High Line is still trying to raise money to finish the last segment of the park, but Hammond says he hopes a sponsor for the Koons sculpture will come forward.

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  1. Seriously- $25 MILLION for this? Because there's nothing better to spend money on? Sorry but this is as stupid as the new Oil Derrick "Art Installation" at 46th and 8th here in NYC.

    Posted by: Frank | Mar 27, 2012 11:30:16 AM

  2. Dear NY City -

    Don't buy into Koons. I can only imagine that LACMA considered this poorly done knock off of Charles Ray's Firetruck because they were wooing Eli Broad - begging him more likely - to give his collection to them. Broad of course has a few Koons works and this would further solidify the blue-chip value of his collection. Broad didn't give the collection to LACMA but decided to build his own museum...across from MOCA. Wow! What a charming man.

    Koons is just stuck trying to schill this piece o' work. Don't buy it.

    Artists are making exceptional work all the time, everywhere.

    Don't fall back on losers like Koons.

    Posted by: tim | Mar 27, 2012 11:46:39 AM

  3. I love the idea of a sculpture that harkens back to the park's past. It would be and appropriate. However, this one is a bad idea. Why not just get an old locomotive and restore it? It would add historical flavor for a lot less money. The High Line is legitimate. They shouldn't give in to something so unsubstantive (that may no =t be a word, but you get it).

    Posted by: MT | Mar 27, 2012 11:50:19 AM

  4. I've heard of "pulling a train" but not hanging one.

    Posted by: Notkony | Mar 27, 2012 11:55:13 AM

  5. Its a lotta money for a piece of art. Its unique for sure but for 25 million can do a lot of inner city improvements.

    Posted by: Tim | Mar 27, 2012 12:05:26 PM

  6. worst. idea. ever.

    Posted by: Kevin | Mar 27, 2012 12:07:25 PM

  7. Forget the train, that's a park?

    Posted by: MarkUs | Mar 27, 2012 12:18:09 PM

  8. OR, they could spend it on.... I don't know.... housing for the city's homeless LGBT youth? Just an idea.

    Posted by: D.R.H. | Mar 27, 2012 12:26:15 PM

  9. Ugly.

    Adds no value.

    Expensive to maintain.

    Absurdly overpriced.

    Sounds great, let's do it!

    Posted by: Daniel | Mar 27, 2012 12:26:15 PM

  10. Waste of money! Plus its ugly, How about using the money to help the homeless or for after school programs in the city, $25 Million can do so much for those with the most need.

    Posted by: jayson | Mar 27, 2012 12:51:24 PM

  11. I laughed when I saw this in the Times today because I was relieved that LACMA had dodged a bullet. Pedantic and shallow. Typical Koons stock in trade. He learned well from his PR days.

    Posted by: Thunderboltfan | Mar 27, 2012 12:53:58 PM

  12. Why do they show a woman taking a picture in the middle of traffic in the artist's conception?

    Posted by: Scott C. | Mar 27, 2012 1:14:51 PM

  13. I think you could buy and restore an actual locomotive for far, far less than $25 million. Seriously, would Koons's statue be made entirely of diamonds or something?

    Posted by: KP | Mar 27, 2012 1:15:42 PM

  14. I'm with MT. As a work of "Art?" this would be a train wreck.

    Posted by: uffda | Mar 27, 2012 2:04:48 PM

  15. I don't care what the feasibility study says, I would not feel comfortable going to a park where there's a multi-ton locomotive hanging over my head by a cable.

    Also, as others have noted, there are better things to spend that kind of money on.

    Posted by: Eric M | Mar 27, 2012 2:27:25 PM

  16. Decadence.

    Posted by: ted | Mar 27, 2012 5:11:52 PM

  17. A total waste of money.

    Posted by: jack | Mar 28, 2012 6:06:15 AM

  18. If everyone hates it so much, it must be great art.

    Posted by: Kurt | Mar 28, 2012 9:14:50 AM

  19. Warhol said "Art is what you can get away with...",
    but Koons is a sell-out to corporate culture. $$$

    Posted by: Marcito | Mar 28, 2012 9:36:46 AM

  20. Agree with posters who suggest getting a real locomotive but keep it horizontal on the tracks...

    Posted by: Tom in long beach | Mar 28, 2012 11:28:01 AM

  21. It's artistic, but not pretty.

    Posted by: Sam Molloy | Mar 28, 2012 11:36:06 AM

  22. The idea is totally absurd. First of all, a NEW Locomotive can be purchased for only 4 to 6 million dollars.
    Second, There are plenty of old Locomotives which could be restored as Museum Display pieces.
    Third, That's NOT the way a crane operator would lift a Locomotive. The hanging Engine would swing in a high wind. Very Dangerous.

    Forget that idea. Instead, maybe an old Alco RS3 and a Caboose? (Parked on a track , not hanging in the air. ) Maybe just a Caboose, that people could climb into, and walk through?

    Here's a Video of an LIRR Caboose at the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum, this is the right way to do it:

    Posted by: James Donohue | Mar 28, 2012 12:18:27 PM

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