Jeff Koons Triples Production Capacity at His Giant Stone-Cutting Facility, Antiquity Stone, in Pennsylvania

It is said to be the world's most advanced workshop of its kind.

Jeff Koons at Frieze London, 2013. Photo via: Hypebeast.

Jeff Koons at Frieze London, 2013.
Photo via: Hypebeast.

We’ll probably be seeing a lot more of Jeff Koons’s massive stone sculptures in the near future. The artist has tripled the production capacity of his advanced technology stone workshop. The facility, known as the Antiquity Stone and located in Morrisville, Pennsylvania opened in 2012 and employs dozens of skilled hands.

Given the often monumental dimensions of stone sculptures, this might also mean that the artist is expecting to produce more and more public art. Koons appears increasingly involved with the genre and was recently commissioned by the Sacramento Kings (see $8 Million Jeff Koons Sculpture Commissioned by Sacramento Basketball Team), though not everyone is a fan of that plan (see Jeff Koons Public Sculpture Spurs Viral Online Protest).

But don’t let the facility’s quaint name fool you. Antiquity Stone, established solely for the exclusive fabrication of Koons’s work, is equipped with 12 computer-operated stone cutting machines, two robots, and provides work for some 30 employees. With machines that range in price from $200,000 to $600,000 each, “there is not another facility in the US that can do what Koons needs,” Jon Lash, president of Digital Atelier, a computer-based sculpture fabricator in New Jersey, who often works with Koons, told TAN, which first reported the story. This equipment is “very uncommon even in commercial manufacturing,” he added.

The problem with working on the bleeding edge of technology? Highly trained personnel is hard to come by. Antiquity Stone posted a job advertisement in January seeking a CNC machine supervisor, where it describes itself as “the most advanced stone fabrication operation in the world.”

Installation view of "Jeff Koons: A Retrospective" Whitney Musuem

Installation view of “Jeff Koons: A Retrospective.”
Photo: Benjamin Sutton.

The process of cutting, milling, and polishing sculptures from huge blocks of stone usually begins with making extremely high-resolution scans of a source object, say, a pop-culture figurine. Translated into 3D renderings, these serve to guide the machines that carve the stone.

Meticulous as they are, Koons’s giant sculptures are often years in the making. His celebrated, or rather, much-Instagrammed, multicolored piece Play-Doh (1994-2014), first revealed at the artist’s Whitney retrospective last year (see Jeff Koons as the Art World’s Great White Hope), languished for years before the right materials were found to appropriately convey the cracks on its surface. It is no secret that Koons can conceptualize, and even sell works before the technology needed to realize them is even invented.

In other Koons news, the artist, along with Cindy Sherman, will donate 50 limited-edition artworks to the Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies (FAPE) for display in American embassies and consulates around the world.

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