From "Dutch Couple 2007"... Dutch Couple (2007)
Banal objects propagate "Art" at the hands of Jeff Koons, the renown American contemporary artist from York, Pennsylvania. As the final exhibit in the Whitney Museum's current locale (the Whitney will relocate to the Meatpacking in 2015), Jeff Koons: A Retrospective is exceptionally comprehensive, displaying 150 iconic works by a single artist across the entirety of the Whitney's Marcel Breuer building. The exhibit documents the full span of Koons' work from 1978 to the present in the following categories: Pre-New, The New, Equilibrium, Luxury and Degradation, Statuary, Banality, Made in Heaven, Celebration, Easyfun, Easyfun Ethereal, Popeye, Hulk Elvis, Antiquity and Glazing Ball. A long weekend in the City and a healthy curiosity towards the construction of Koons' larger-than-life artwork presents the perfect opportunity to trek to the Whitney. Here's a glimpse of what's inside…
From "Celebration"… Tulips (1995-1998); photo credit: Whitney Museum
For the wary museum-goer, the subtly camouflaged descriptions on the wall hold the key to deciphering each piece. The play doh sculpture in "Celebration" is made of aluminum and took Koons two decades to complete. The basketballs in "Equilibrium" are suspended in a distilled water solution. The introduction to "The New" and "Inflatabales and Pre-New" may far outweigh the otherwise humdrum arrangement of inflatable flowers or multicolored sponges and mirrors. Evident in Koons' aesthetic is a play on luxury and a conversion from low brow to high brow--perhaps a result of his time as a commodities trader.
From "Celebration"… Balloon Dog (Yellow) (1994-2000)
Best-known for his ballon animal scuptures (made of stainless steel), a yellow rendition of Jeff Koons' iconic Balloon Dog rests in "Celebration," a replica of which (in orange) sold for $58.4 million in November 2013 (and broke the world record for the most expensive work by a living artist sold at auction!). Folded into the eclectic mix of artwork patterned off childhood influences are pieces with controversial/sexually explicit content; beware if you bring young eyes. Overall, the exhibit encompasses a tightly edited selection representative of each stage of Koons' creative development.
Koons' collaborative bag with H&M, launching July 17th
According to the Whitney, Jeff Koons "pioneered new approaches to the readymade, tested the boundaries between advanced art and mass culture, challenged the limits of industrial fabrication and transformed the relationship of artists to the cult of celebrity and the global market" [source]. Fittingly, NYC celebrates his work with vigor this summer. A floral version of Koons' Split Rocker--made from 50,000 flowers--towers 37 feet above Rockefeller Center through September 12th. As one of the exhibit's sponsors, H&M collaborates with Koons on a special edition leather cross body bag, a mini in-store exhibit to unveil its new Fifth Ave. flagship and a 6-floor nod to the artist on the exterior facade of its newest location. The Whitney exhibit runs from June 27th until October 19th and the new H&M flagship at 589 Fifth Ave. opens to the public July 17th.
As a sponsor of the exhibit, H&M will feature Koons' art at its new flagship at 589 Fifth Ave.
Jeff Koons: A Retrospective @ The Whitney Museum of American Art
945 Madison Ave (at 75th Street)
June 27 - October 19, 2014
H&M Fashion Loves Art @ H&M
589 Fifth Ave
Store Opening Day, July 17th
Split Rocker @ Rockefeller Center
30 Rockefeller Plaza
Until September 12th
From "Celebration"… On the left: Play Doh (1994-2014); Painting in the middle: Cake (1995-1997)
From "Antiquity"… Balloon Venus (Orange) (2008-2012), Mirror polished stainless steel with transparent coating
From "Popeye"... Gorilla (2009-2011)
Visitors admiring the "Inflatables and Pre-New" section
The "New" section featuring never-been-used vacuums
From "Easyfun"… Split-Rocker (Orange/Red) (1999); photo credit: Whitney Museum
Split Rocker by Jeff Koons at Rockefeller Center
From "Popeye"… Seal Walrus (Trashcans) (2003); photo credit: Whitney Museum
From "Banality"… First Statue on the left: Ushering in Banality (1988)
From "Banality"... Michael Jackson and Bubbles (1988)
From "Banality"... Amore (1988)
From "Equilibrium"… One Ball Total Equilibrium Tank (1985); Glass + Steel + Sodium Chloride Reagent + Distilled Water + Basketball