The Whitney Museum in New York City debuted the “most comprehensive retrospective ever” of contemporary artist Jeff Koons.
“Jeff Koons: A Retrospective” that opened June 27th is the largest exhibit ever put on by the American art museum and the final show in the Whitney Museum’s Madison Avenue building, before it moves to the Meatpacking District.
Koons has spent the past four decades producing a divisive body of work: some consider it genius, others think it’s a joke. The only given is that his pieces sell for extraordinary prices: last November “Balloon Dog (Orange)”, a 12-foot metallic sculpture, became the most expensive work by a living artist ever sold at auction when it fetched $58.4m at Christie’s.
The artist’s best-known pieces—the kitschy porcelain sculpture of Michael Jackson and his pet monkey, a giant metallic yellow edition of his “Balloon Dog” series, and several versions of his “Equilibrium” works featuring basketballs suspended in solution—are sprinkled throughout the exhibition.
Whatever your view of Mr Koons’s work, the Whitney is certainly saying goodbye to its old home “with a flourish”. The show both entertains and provokes, by allowing viewers to see the breadth of Mr Koons’s work. Some may sneer, but all will find something to marvel at.
Jeff Koons: “A Retrospective”
“Balloon Venus” (Orange), 2008–12.
“One Ball Total Equilibrium Tank” (Spalding Dr. J 241 Series), 1985,
In addition to the Whitney exhibit, Koons’ “Split-Rocker” topiary recently debuted at Rockefeller Center. The 37-foot-high topiary, featuring 50,000 plants, is a half-dinosaur, half-pony that’s been displayed everywhere from Versailles to Maryland.
“Jeff Koons: A Retrospective” is on display at the Whitney Museum of American Art, in New York, until October 19th 2014.
The exhibition will travel to the Pompidou Centre in Paris in November and to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain, in summer 2015.