Designing tongue-in-cheek works which play with modern cultural icons is all in a day's work for artist Jeff Koons. However, the artist has made an announcement regarding his next project which tops even the lauded Balloon Dog: Koons will design a set of unique works incorporating Hermes Birkin bags to benefit charitable organization Project Perpetual. It seems Koons has achieved the impossible, and transformed the Birkin into an even more iconic objet d'art.
Koons isn't the first artist to think of customizing Birkins for a greater sartorial impact; the monstrous creation which Kanye West bestowed upon Kim Kardashian last Christmas was only the latest rendition of the artist-signature Birkin. However, given Koons' discerning eye and intuitive knowledge of both art and fashion, it seems probable that this new collection will be aesthetically pleasing as opposed to terrifying. Diane von Furstenberg and Marc Jacobs are amongst the philanthropic luminaries who contributed Birkins to the cause. Project Perpetual accepts donations (such as the Birkins), passes them along to contemporary artists to be reimagined, and auctions each work to raise funds which benefit "children who are identified as high-risk by the United Nations Foundation," according to the foundation's website. This year it's Birkins, but next year there will be another item to customize.
As if the thought of completely distinctive Birkins designed with Koons' uber-contemporary eye weren't enough, Koons has also created several works to be auctioned in support of the United Nations Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign to provide vaccines for children in need. According to a representative from Koons' team, "Koons has created eight unique wall sculptures that incorporate donated Hermès Birkin bags as ready-made objects on mirrors." Included in the lot is a particularly statement-making piece which belongs to Koons' Gazing Ball collection. The sculpture depicts a woman bowing her head towards her child, laden with one crocodile Birkin and one simple dove grey design, both of which appear to have the child's rapt attention. Though I assume the focus of the statue is in fact the glass ball positioned below both figures, the sculpture seems recall the childhood obsession of coveting fashionable accessories just out of reach. Or perhaps I'm simply projecting my own love of Birkins.