Snapchat brings Jeff Koons to Hyde Park

For years it has been the tween-teen messaging app of choice. Now Snapchat is encouraging a more mature, art-loving generation to join the conversation through a new collaboration with Jeff Koons.

On Tuesday (3 October 2017), the app launched a new augmented reality project called ‘Artwork All Around You’ that allows users to view some of Koons’ most iconic sculptures in nine locations worldwide. Snapchatters with the latest version of the app installed on their smartphones must be within 300m of the ‘Koons Lenses’. They will then be directed to look at a particular spot in the area until a white location marker is displayed. The marker is then replaced by one of Koons’ virtual sculptures superimposed over the Snapchat users real-world view on their smartphone.

Among the Koons’ works materialising in far-flung destinations across the globe are his giant ‘Play-Doh’ pile (Venice Beach, Los Angeles), ‘Balloon Popeye’ (Sydney Opera House, Sydney) and ‘Balloon Dog’ (Hyde Park, London). Snapchat users can even walk around the virtual statues to admire them from different vantage points. The sculptures will be available to view in each site for a couple of weeks at a time before travelling to a new location.

Faced with disappointing earnings and slow user growth, Snapchat hopes the Koons collaboration will lure a new generation of users over 25 with an interest in arts and culture and inspire creative expression. “The fact we can bring these ginormous sculptures anywhere in the world… is just the beginning”, said Snap CEO, Evan Spiegel. Snapchat is now inviting other artists to collaborate with the app on creating more augmented reality lenses.

Jeff Koons’ sculptures have not always been crowd-pleasers. In 1992 a US appeals court held he could not deal with his sculpture ‘String of Puppies’ after finding that the work infringed copyright in an earlier photograph by Art Rogers.

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