Jeff Koons's Seated Ballerina Stirs up Artist's Dark Past

(NEW YORK) - "I was a left-behind parent, and you really don't know where to run" Jeff Koon's explained about his experience in 1998, when ex-wife, Ilona Staller, abducted their son, Ludwig Maximilian, despite Koons's custody.

Koons has installed a mammoth inflatable ballerina, Seated Ballerina, in Rockefeller Center as he is representing National Missing Children's Month this through to June 2nd. He was chosen by the not-for-profit Art Production Fund and the collaborating International Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Koons has been a sitting member on the board of I.C.M.E.C since his ex-wife abducted their son.

Jeff Koons's inflated Seated Ballerina at Rockefeller Center in New York City. Image courtesy of Koons Studio and Art Production Fund.

Koons describes Seated Ballerina as a work to "convey optimism and a sense of potential for the future.", optimism that he received from the foundation when Staller fled to Italy with Ludwig. Staller, or widely known by her stage name, Cicciolina, is said to be one of the most popular international pornography stars of her time, her most hardcore film Telefono Rosso (Red Telephone) featured snake play. Staller continued to stun the world in 1987 when she debuted her new career as a politician, where she won a seat in the Italian parliament.

Kiehl's X Jeff Koons Tin and Midnight Recovery System. Photo courtesy of Kiehl's.

Seated Ballerina highlights a disturbing part of the artists life, a situation he continues to live with as his son remains in Italy with Staller. Koons' ballerina is also the face of Kiehl's missing children campaign, where the cosmetic brand is featuring the artwork's face on limited edition tins. All proceeds from the tins will be donated to the cause.

Koons says he's proud to represent a cause that's so deat to his heart, representing a foundation that offered him hope during his difficult times. Koons describes that the reflective surface of the artwork is what inspires optimism for the future. Koons explains "..that excites people. That excitement is sighting one’s own potential as a human being. That’s the art. And I am thrilled to be able to exhibit this at Rockefeller Center.”

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