Joan and Irwin Jacobs UC San Diego Health
Party Hat (Orange) by Jeff Koons, part of the art collection at the Jacobs Medical Center in La Jolla. Photo credit: Philipp Scholz Rittermann

A sculpture by artist Jeff Koons has been unveiled as part of the Healing Arts Collection at the Jacobs Medical Center at UC San Diego Health in La Jolla.

Party Hat (Orange), was purchased 15 years ago by longtime university donor, Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs, along with his wife Joan, while Koons was still at work on it.

The larger-than-life metallic party hat, fabricated in mirror-polished stainless steel with transparent color coating, is located in the main lobby of the medical center.

The piece, which Koons worked on from 1994 to 2019, can be viewed from multiple levels and angles. In the morning, natural light streams through the floor-to-ceiling windows, and the surfaces of the sculpture appear to change throughout the day.

Koons helped choose the best location for Party Hat (Orange). It’s the first sculpture to be displayed in the public space of the hospital, though pandemic restrictions mean only patients and staff can currently view it.

“This exciting addition to the Healing Arts Collection helps elevate our efforts to foster a welcoming and healing space for our patients,” said UCSD Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla.

The Healing Arts Collection features over 150 paintings, photographs, sculptures and prints. Many of the artists in the collection have a connection to other institutions in San Diego, including Kim MacConnel and the late Manny Farber, who also served as faculty at UCSD.

In addition, artists such as Kiki Smith have also been commissioned by UCSD’s Stuart Collection.

Koons said he was “very grateful to Irwin and Joan Jacobs for creating this opportunity for so many people to interact with the workI hope it will bring a sense of optimism and wonder to all who encounter it.”

The Healing Arts Collection has been curated by Joan Jacobs in partnership with Iris Strauss, a longtime UCSD donor and art collector, and Kathryn Kanjo, the David C. Copley Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.

Joan Jacobs called Party Hat (Orange), “a jubilant, beautiful sculpture.”

The Jacobs’ gifts have supported a broad range of initiatives over nearly 50 years, from scholarships and art commissions to health care and UCSD’s top-ranked Jacobs School of Engineering.