When we tell you Crystal Bridges has a big heart, we’re not kidding.
This one is nearly ten feet wide. It’s Hanging Heart (Gold/Magenta), by Jeff Koons, the latest addition to Crystal Bridges’ collection, now hanging nine feet above the heads of diners in the Museum’s restaurant, Eleven.
Hanging Heart and the other steel sculptures were created to very demanding specifications by manufacturers in Germany. Koons is a perfectionist when it comes to surface finish, and in these works the labor pays off. The surface captures and reflects the lights and shapes from the dining bridge’s ribbed ceiling, skylights and glass walls, as well as, of course, the faces of its viewers. That reflection is part of the whole purpose of the work, according to the artist.
“Hanging Heart has a reflective surface because it’s important to me that when the viewer interacts with it that they realize that the art happens inside them,” Koons explained. “Affirmation of the self is really important to me—that, when the viewer comes, they realize that nothing happens without them. If they move to the right, everything shifts. If they move to the left, it’s a different kind of abstraction that occurs in the surface. Everything depends on them.”
The surface of the work is so reflective, so illusory, you can almost believe the huge steel heart to be a bubble, a balloon: something much lighter than its actual materials. But it is, indeed, an illusion. The work weighs in at more than 3,000 pounds.