Born in York, Pennsylvania in 1955, Jeff Koons is one of the most significant postwar artists. Through his work he explores various themes from consumerism and beauty to sexual stigma. This year London hosted first in 7 years solo exhibition of his work entitled “Now” at Newport Street Gallery, with pieces never shown in the UK before.
Exhibition guides us through thirty-five years of Koons’ career starting at one of his first experiments with readymades – Inflatables from 1979. This fascination with objects filled with air accompanied Jeff through his entire career (and accompanies still today). Beside visual values Koons saw them as a symbol.
“Every time you take a breath, it’s like a symbol of life and every time you exhale, it’s a symbol of death”
One of the common media used by Koons are billboard-inspired paintings. Artist uses the big format of billboard to force viewers’ attention to taboo subjects like sexual stigma. Since everyday products are present in almost every piece branding is always a part of it. Usually Koons uses brands to strengthen the connection between the art and the viewer, using most recognisable brands for reproduction of alcohol advertisements, basketballs or hoovers. To form his sometimes massive sculptures Koons uses stainless steel, polychromed aluminium and polyethylene. The aspect of Koons’ work which I admire the most is his perfectionism. 3m or 30cm flawless sculptures seem like actual inflatables, balloons and play-doh. To achieve that Jeff Koons mastered many techniques, consulted many specialists (physicists, chemists) and used cutting-edge technology.
Controversial to a point, engaging to a point, juvenile yet contextualised collection was marked by some critics as shallow (Jonathan Jones). I would recommend exploring Jeff Koons’ art, as a study of everyday life, social mobility, brands and limits.