The former president of the Centre Pompidou Foundation, Robert M. Rubin, has criticized Jeff Koons for giving his Bouquet of Tulips to Paris, calling the gift a “poisoned chalice” in an op-ed published in Le Monde on Saturday, July 29.

In the article, Rubin—who chaired the Paris museum’s American philanthropic arm from 2006 to 2012—explained that it is common practice in France for artists to donate works to a museum that organizes an exhibition of their work.

Over a decade ago, Jeff Koons staged an intervention in Versailles that was paid for by the artist’s dealers and collectors, but as the 17th-century palace doesn’t collect contemporary art, Koons wasn’t able to repay his “cultural debt” to the country in the traditional manner.

Dubbing Koons “the king of contemporary kitsch,” Rubin came down on the American sculptor for his choice to gift Bouquet of Tulips to the city rather than donating a work to the Centre Pompidou:

“The gift of Bouquet of Tulips, announced with fanfare last autumn, does not balance the accounts. For starters, it’s not exactly a gift. Koons is only offering the concept, the initial idea. Someone else has to pay for the [rest].” read more