Artist Jeff Koons' much-anticipated work that now graces Sacramento's downtown next to the new Golden 1 Center was unveiled on Friday, Sept. 16, 2016, and it was a large bit of whimsy: a sculpture of the character Piglet from Koons' "Coloring Book Hector Amezcua The Sacramento Bee
Artist Jeff Koons' much-anticipated work that now graces Sacramento's downtown next to the new Golden 1 Center was unveiled on Friday, Sept. 16, 2016, and it was a large bit of whimsy: a sculpture of the character Piglet from Koons' "Coloring Book Hector Amezcua The Sacramento Bee

Arena

$8 million Piglet-inspired sculpture unwrapped at Golden 1 Center

By Ryan Lillis and Dale Kasler

rlillis@sacbee.com

September 16, 2016 03:00 PM

Piglet has arrived in Sacramento.

A controversial $8 million sculpture by world-renowned artist Jeff Koons was set into place outside downtown’s Golden 1 Center on Friday, two weeks before the arena is set to open to the public.

The sculpture was placed on a pedestal in front of what will be the main entrance into Golden 1 Center, on the arena’s northwest corner. While it remained covered for much of the day, workers removed a protective wrap from the sculpture in the afternoon, leaving the colorful work of art visible to motorists and pedestrians on J Street. Some people perched along an elevated sidewalk on Fifth Street, attempting to grab a glimpse and a photograph of the city’s most expensive piece of public art.

After media outlets posted images of the 18-foot-tall sculpture on social media, the Golden 1 Center Twitter account posted a photo of the wrapped artwork with the caption: “Special delivery! Jeff Koons’ Coloring Book #4 statue arrived this morning at Golden 1 Center!” The account said information on an official unveiling would be coming soon.

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The sculpture comes from Koons’ “Coloring Book” collection, a series the artist has said was inspired by the notion of a child coloring over the lines of an image of Piglet.

“When you move, the reflections change, and it really affirms your existence and the importance in every moment of life,” Koons told The Sacramento Bee in a March 2015 interview. “I hope that a piece like ‘Coloring Book’ can excite young children who are going hand-in-hand with their mother and father and with their sisters and their grandparents to a sporting event (at the arena), that all generations can find some contemplative interaction with the piece.”

Most of the funding for the sculpture came from the Sacramento Kings; the city of Sacramento chipped in $2.5 million from its share of the public financing of Golden 1 Center. The funding was part of the Art in Public Places program that requires a percentage of the construction budgets of public projects to fund artwork.

The public will get its shot to see the sculpture up close in two weeks.

The Kings said Friday that an open house will be held at Golden 1 Center from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 1, three days before the inaugural event at the new downtown arena. Fans must have tickets to get in, and tickets were being distributed Friday evening at http://www.golden1center.com/events/detail/openhouse.

A spokesman said fans would be able to reserve a one-hour time block to tour the arena.

It’s expected that thousands of fans will visit the $557 million facility.

The announcement of the open house came shortly after the team distributed all of the tickets for its free Fan Fest event, which will feature a team practice. Fan Fest will run from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. that same day.

Concession stands will be open for both events.

At Fan Fest, fans will be able to watch the team practice, explore the building and participate in a question-and-answer session with selected players. There also will be “exclusive contests and prizes,” the team said.

Paul McCartney opens the arena with a pair of concerts Oct. 4 and 5. The first Kings game is an exhibition Oct. 10 against Israel’s Maccabi Haifa B.C., and the first regular season home game is Oct. 27 against San Antonio.

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Gale Hart's been painting, bending and blasting her work on the central city grid since the 1970s. Some refer to her as Sacramento’s Godmother of Contemporary Art. Ryan LillisThe Sacramento Bee

Ryan Lillis: 916-321-1085, @Ryan_Lillis