Pink Panther depicts a 1950s pin–up, modeled on the American B–movie actress Jayne Mansfield, with one hand covering a breast bared by a garment that has slipped down—a predicament for which Mansfield was notorious. The stuffed Pink Panther she clutches with her other hand is cheekily extending his tail toward the waistband of her skirt. Pink Panther is part of Koons’s Banality series, a group of twenty sculptures that draws on both popular culture and mass–market knickknacks. Koons enlarged, combined, and transformed his sources, and had his designs fabricated by European artisans in ceramic and polychromed wood. Sonnabend financed the production of the Banality series over a two–year period, seeing the sculptures for the first time when they were uncrated for exhibition at her New York gallery in 1988.
Gallery label from Ileana Sonnabend: Ambassador for the New, December 21, 2013–April 21, 2014.