Wow, it has been forever since I’ve been on here. Sorry, Nan! :( She knows how hectic things have been. I, too, have accepted a new job and spent the second half of summer transitioning jobs, training off-site, attending weddings and traveling. In fact, I wasn’t even home for a month. That’s like eternity in NY time. Needless to say, I am happy to sleep in my own bed again and no longer living out of a suitcase. So, enough of the excuses, let’s talk about Jeff Koons. Haha.
I had been hearing great things about this show for the longest time. So, when I returned, I took advantage of Bank of America’s free museum admission on the first weekend of every month. I have to say I wasn’t really sure if I was a fan of his work before entering his exhibition. Like most people, I only recognize his work as the blown-up balloon dog sculpture, which I guess is cool if you want to recreate pictures from The Bean on a dog instead. All jokes aside, when I walked out of the museum, I had a newfound appreciation for his work.
First and foremost, I just didn’t realize the amount of labor involved with producing these massive sculptures. He usually uses very unconventional materials that cannot be molded with ease into the shapes that he demands for his works. In addition, some of these materials have never been used at this scale. No detail is lost in the process. From the fur of the cat to the texture of the knit bag, there is a scary amount of precision that goes into each element.
Even for his balloon sculptures, Koons sculpts the twist of the balloon in between each inflated section. His “Popeye” series had me doing major double-takes. I could not believe that the pool toys were actually made of aluminum since even the sheen of plastic was captured in every indent.
Can you tell in the photos? Well, it’s crazier in real life!
Some of his sculptures seem quite simple. But, they would require an intense level of care to form the material into a flawless, reflective curve.
Besides the actual task of making these sculptures, Koons also cleverly disguises an underlying message — ridiculing the mass consumption of ready-made products and cookie-cutter entertainment. This is fully captured in his “Made in Heaven” series, which is not pictured here and may not be suitable for all ages or audiences.
Jeff Koons also seems to poke fun at the idea of creating statues and busts that preserve the idea and/or memory of people. This statue below can be seen as the modern version of those familiar historical statues.
Overall, this exhibit was totally worth all the hype and I would recommend you all to check it out before it closes on Oct 19th! The line is pretty long (typical NY, of course), but goes by at a reasonable rate. I waited for 20 min with the line wrapping around the corner to the museum driveway/garage. Oh, if you’re on the fence, I should mention that this show is also awesome for taking selfies.
Jeff Koons: A Retrospective
June 27 – October 19, 2014
Whitney Museum of American Art
945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street
New York, NY 10021(212) 570-3600