Jeff Koons Recycles Birkin Bags as Art

Jeff Koons sold pre-owned Hermès handbags as readymades.

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Jan 15 2017, 5:10am

Sophia Coppola's Birkin bag, which was sold to Alberto Mugrabi as a readymade by Jeff Koons. © Jeff Koons, courtesy of Project Perpetual

Every now and then, The Creators Project comes across an artwork that surprises and delights us—every bit as much as it totally confuses us and otherwise has us begging for answers. This is art that defies conventions, challenges sensibilities, and breaks the walls down between around both critique and understanding. You might like it—you might not "get it." But we do. Turn on, take a deep breath, and just remember: it's art!

Sophia Coppola's Birkin bag, which was sold to Alberto Mugrabi as a readymade by Jeff Koons. © Jeff Koons, courtesy of Project Perpetual

This article was originally published on November 11, 2014 but we think it still rocks!

Artist Jeff Koons's retrospective at the Whitney might have been a tough act to follow, but at least he has friends to help. At an event held by art philanthropy initiative Project Perpetual, the likes of Sofia Coppola, Marc Jacobs, Princess Caroline of Hanover, and other designers and dignitaries donated their personal Hermès Birkin bags so that Jeff Koons could sell them as readymade artworks. 

At the event, Sofia Coppola told Bloomberg that her bag was a barely-used gift from her father, Francis Ford Coppola, "It was in my closet for a long time," she said. "It's very decadent so I'm happy it's now an art piece." 

All the proceeds from this week's auction, held by Simon de Pury at the Four Seasons Restaurant in NYC, benefit the United Nations Foundation. With the sale of Koons's Picasso-inspired sculpture, Gazing Ball (Charity), pictured below, this year's total for Impressionist and modern art sold at Manhattan auctions now exceeds $673,000,000.

Jeff Koons stands beside his sculpture Gazing Ball (Charity). Photo by Neil Rasmus/BFAnyc.com

The lineup of Birkin bags. Photo by Neil Rasmus/BFAnyc.com

Princess Grace adorns a Kelly bag that belonged to her daughter, Princess Caroline  © Jeff Koons, courtesy of Project Perpetual

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