J’accuse, indeed! It appears that even the most selfie’d artist of the year, Jeff Koons, isn’t untouchable. In fact, as the AFP and Artnet News are reporting, the artist has been slapped with his fourth copyright infringement suit. This time, the bobo French brand Naf Naf has found similarities between its 1985 advertisement of a woman supine in the snow while a pig sniffs her face and Koons’s sculpture. Both are titled Fait d’Hiver. Why now? Well, the Centre Pompidou currently is exhibiting the Koons retrospective that recently closed at the Whitney, and wouldn’t you know, Fait d’Hiver is included. In fact, the bailiff presiding over the legal action, which has been brought about by the creative director who created the ad, Franck Davidovici, went to the exhibit to photograph the work as proposed evidence. Another note of coincidence is that the work is from Koons’s Banality series, and the three other copyright infringement suits brought against Koons all are, too. He has lost two of the three cases. If, according to Picasso, “good artists borrow, and great artists steal,” then what happens to greatness when artists steal and get sued?
Jeff Koons at his 2014 retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Photo: Timothy A. Clary/Getty Images