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Sacramento Artists Voice Opposition To $8 Million Out-Of-Town Piglet

Jeff Koons rendering / City of Sacramento

Jeff Koons rendering / City of Sacramento

Artists who live in Sacramento are not pleased with a plan that would spend $8 million on a sculpture for the new Downtown Sacramento arena. They attended the Sacramento City Council meeting Tuesday night to speak against the plan.
Seventeen people spoke about the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission decision to commission a colorful, metallic piece called "Piglet" by New York artist Jeff Koons. All were opposed.

Linton Borden was one of them.  

"Without using multiple artists to show the beauty and creativity to the world that Sacramento has," Borden said, "we are doing ourselves a great disservice and basically trying to buy credibility from somebody who already has an established brand."

Of the $8 million, $2.5 million would come from the city. The rest would come from the Sacramento Kings and three of the Kings owners.

Councilman Allen Warren says Koons' popularity is an important factor in the decision to commission his work.

"I think some of that money -and in fact the majority of that money- was made available because of the artist."

Sacramento artist Merle Axelrad says she appreciates the donation, but how the money is spent is more important than the amount.

"I think that what we want is the best art and there was no open competition here.  My question is, how did Piglet get chosen?

There was no public comment on how the money would be spent.

Councilman Steve Hansen says that may be part of the reason for the opposition.

"They had an expectation that the process might be different and I'm not passing judgement yet on the ultimate result, but I do think that some of their concerns are reasonable."

The Kings owners say they will donate their stake in the sculpture to the City in three years.

Two years ago a Koons' metallic balloon animal sold for 58 million dollars.

The council is scheduled to vote on the Piglet sculpture next week.

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