A Train Full of Bourbon Sells for $33.8 Million

Jeff Koons’ Jim Beam – J.B. Turner Train, “a nine-and a half foot bourbon-filled steel train,” was sold for $33.8 million at fine arts auction house Christie’s, according to SlateThe steel sculpture was created in 1986 as a part of “Luxury and Degradation” exhibition by Koons. The train is filled with bourbon. but there is no way of drinking the whiskey out of it. The sculpture was created to “suggest how the idea of luxury, through abstraction, is used to induce a psychological state of degradation.”

Sound absurd? You are not the only one who thinks so. The New Yorker’s Calvin Tomkins argued in a 2007 profile on the artist that, “it is possible to argue that no real connection exists between Koons’ work and what he says about it.”

Steel is the “perfect material for Koons,” reads Christie’s note on the sculpture. “It keeps the whiskey safe, preserved, at a remove from possible temptation.” But in light of the looming whiskey shortage, bourbon trapped inside a giant steel train seems like a waste.  You’re better off buying a handle of Jim Beam instead. Not only is it cheaper, but you can actually drink it. [Slate] [Photo: Flickr/Rubenstein]