Prima ballerina? Oksana Zhnikrup's porcelain figure, left, and Jeff Koons's inflatable Seated Ballerina
Jeff Koons’s 45-foot-tall inflatable sculpture Seated Ballerina, installed at Rockefeller Center earlier this month (until 2 June), is not only drawing crowds in Manhattan. The kitschy work of appropriation art has also attracted a surprising amount of attention in Ukraine.
In a 22 May Facebook post, Lado Pochkhua, a New York-based Georgian artist, pointed out the sculpture’s striking resemblance
to a porcelain figure designed by the Ukrainian artist Oksana Zhnikrup. Zhnikrup, who died in 1993, worked for the Kiev Experimental Art Ceramics Factory.
While some have called for Ukraine to confiscate the sculpture and install it in Kiev, Alexander Roitburd, a well-known and outspoken artist noted on Facebook that “I’m even glad that he’s popularising Ukrainian art”, adding however: “I hope that he named the source.”
A spokeswoman for Koons's studio said: "We are aware of Oksana Zhnikrup’s work and have a license to use it for Mr Koons’s work."