Search Museum Next

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao embarks on repairing Koons’s giant Puppy

Jeff Koon's 12m Puppy topiary at the Guggenheim Bilbao

The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao will begin work this month on renovating the 12.4m Scottish Highland terrier topiary designed by American artist Jeff Koons.

Located in Museum Square at the entrance of the museum, Puppy (1992), has been lending a colourful welcome to visitors to the Guggenheim Bilbao since it was inaugurated in 1997. Now it is set for a €100,000 overhaul.

Launch of museum’s first crowdfunder

To meet the costs the museum launched its first crowdfunding initiative at the end of June and has so far raised €28,206.

“It has been an icon of the Bilbao since October 1997 when it came here and welcomes visitors to our museum spreading beauty and optimism from the entrance plaza,” Director General, Juan Ignacio Vidarte, said.

“It’s really a privilege to have this work in our collection and this crowdfunder will make sure Puppy remains in pristine condition for the next 25 years.”

38,000 bedding plants

The sculpture is carpeted in approximately 38,000 bedding flowers including pansies, petunias and marigolds, changed each year in spring and autumn.

According to the museum it ‘employs the most saccharine of iconography – flowers and puppies – in a monument to the sentimental’.

The preventive intervention will see the renovation of the steel structure, the irrigation system and the various internal layers that feed the plants.

Thanks to the works, which are set to be complete in November, new methods will also promote the reduction in water consumption in daily irrigation and a more sustainable maintenance.

Rap released to boost fundraising

To help with the crowdfunder, the museum has worked with Bilbao-born MC Gransan to release a new rap this week called P.U.P.P.Y.

Recorded around the museum, the rap ‘gives voice’ to Puppy through Gransan’s perspective and music style – with numerous references and nods to the rap world –and encourages people to contribute to the campaign.

Guggenheim Bilbao was launched as way to revitalise its rundown port area and the design by Frank Gehry, with its silver, wavy cladding, is recognised around the world.

The museum houses other large scale installations including Louise Bourgeois’s Maman (1999), a 9m spider sculpture.

About the author – Adrian Murphy

Adrian is the Editor of MuseumNext and has 20 years’ experience as a journalist, half of which has been writing for the cultural sector.

Subscribe to the latest museum thinking

Fresh ideas from museums around the globe in your inbox each week