Sunday, August 3, 2014

Jeff Koons in Whitney

I did it - stood in a line for 40 minutes to see Jeff Koons' retroperspective in Whitney Museum. As mainstream it all was, I actually really enjoyed the show. It was much bigger than I expected and there were many works I hadn't heard about before. What a witty artist and brilliant businessman.

Woman in Bathtub from Banality series

From Statuary series
in 1986, Koons conceived of a series titled Statuary, a term that suggests a borderland just outside the domain of sculpture. Fittingly, Koons based this series on a broad range of readymade models, from corny mass-market curios to distinguished portrait busts and rendered all of these models in stainless steel. By transforming his lowbrow readymades into highbrow art and making his historical sources more contemporary, Koons achieved a kind of democratic leveling of culture.

Balloon Dog from Celebrations series (1994-2014)
Koons imparted Balloon Dog (Yellow) with an air of innocent playfulness as well as elements that suggest sexual orifices and protuberances. He has hinted at the sculpture’s darker themes by comparing its form to a Trojan horse, the giant wooden gift that the Greeks bestowed on their Trojan enemies, while Greek soldiers lurked inside. 
Equilibrium , 1985
miraculously hovering basketballs
“Equilibrium is before birth, it’s in the womb, it’s about what is prior to life and after death. It’s this ultimate state of the eternal that is reflected in this moment.”

Readymade inflatables. 
He used these toys to turn his East Village apartment into a riotous installation and to make sculptures that explore the fetishes and other irrational forces driving consumer culture.

Play-Doh, 1994-2014
In contrast to the perfect smoothness and largely monochromatic palette of many sculptures in Celebration, this one represents an enormous craggy mound of Play-Doh. The material is one of the first that American children use to make simple artworks, and Koons remembers his son proudly presenting him with a Play–Doh sculpture. Yet here the freedom, confidence, and spontaneity of the boy’s initial gesture ironically prompted one of the most complex sculptures Koons has ever made, requiring two decades to fabricate. 

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