June 25 – September 12, 2014
This summer, Jeff Koons's Split-Rocker makes its New York City debut at Rockefeller Center, to coincide with the opening of his retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Presented by Gagosian Gallery and organized by Public Art Fund and Tishman Speyer, Split-Rocker is a spectacular planted form that towers over 37 feet high and features over 50,000 flowering plants. It was first exhibited at Palais des Papes, Avignon in 2000; and subsequently at Château de Versailles (2008) and Fondation Beyeler (2012). It is also in the collection of the Glenstone private museum in Potomac, Maryland, where it has been on view since June of 2013. Consistent with Koons's persistent fascination with dichotomy and the in-between, the inspiration for Split-Rocker came when he decided to split and combine two similar but different toy rockers, a pony belonging to his son and a dinosaur (“Dino”). The slippage or "split" between the different halves of the heads gives an almost Cubist aspect to the composition. As the model was enlarged to the scale of a small house, the split became an opening, a profile, and a light shaft. In contrast to his legendary Puppy of 1992, which was presented by Public Art Fund at Rockefeller Center in the summer of 2000, Split-Rocker suggests the idea of a fantasy shelter. Whereas the singular form of Puppy is closed and sculptural, the combined form of Split-Rocker is architectural and hollow.