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Jeff Koons’s works test the boundaries between popular and elite culture. Puppy is the title of a large sculpture that stands guard at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. With Puppy, Koons engages both past and present, employing sophisticated computer modeling to create a work that references the 18th-century formal European garden. A behemoth West Highland terrier carpeted in bedding plants, Puppy employs the most saccharine of iconography—flowers and puppies—in a monument to the sentimental. Imposing in scale, its size both tightly contained and seemingly out of control (it is both literally and figuratively still growing), and juxtaposing elite and mass-cultural references (topiary and dog breeding, Chia Pets and Hallmark greeting cards), the work may be read as an allegory of contemporary culture. Koons designed this public sculpture to relentlessly entice, to create optimism, and to instill, in his own words, "confidence and security."

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