This summer the Whitney Museum of American Art has gone big, bright, and shiny in the first retrospective dedicated to the illustrious and at times inflammatory career of Jeff Koons, an artist that has spent decades pushing the bounds between what is mass produced versus museum-worthy. Koons’ whimsical oversized sculptures break the traditional bounds of the art world, tapping into childhood memories that resonate with the masses in his larger than life pop-colored play-doh piles and mirrored balloon animals shined to the point of perfect reflection that Koons may as well have created them with an instagram-eye in mind. The playful uninhibitedness of the exhibition is entirely intentional. “All that matters in life and in art is human interaction,” said Koons about his work’s undisputed enticement.
For Jeff Koons; A Retrospective the Whitney has gathered almost 150 of Koon’s artworks, on loan from some of the biggest collectors around the globe, to fill their Madison Avenue museum space one last time before moving to it’s new home in the Meatpacking District. Tracking Koon’s art career and concurrent celebrity since 1978, the exhibition rounds up Koons’ most iconic works, including a tank encasing a mysteriously hovering basketball, inflatable pool toys turned high art, and the (in)famous gilded statue of Michael Jackson and his chimpanzee Bubbles. Whether making you rethink the use of a vacuum cleaner or the meaning of a perfectly pink frosted piece of cake, Koons is in the business of challenging the everyday with a balance of kitsch and wit.
The exhibition also includes Koon’s ‘Split-Rocker,’ a sculpture which pieces together children’s toys and has been recreated in greenery and live flowers for a special 37-foot-tall topiary sculpture installation on public display in Rockefeller Center, timed to coincide with the Whitney exhibition by The Public Art Fund.
Jeff Koons: A Retrospective will be in New York City through October 19th, and will then travel to the Centre Pompidou, Musée national d’art modern in Paris (November 26, 2014–April 27, 2015), followed by the Guggenheim Bilbao in Spain (June 5–September 27, 2015).