GO SEE: Jeff Koons at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago, through September 21

June 18th, 2008

Image via Telegraph UK

The Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago presents a collection of retrospective work of the influential contemporary artist Jeff Koons, through September 21st.  This is his first major U.S. exhibit in 15 years which contains 60 paintings and sculptures of his most iconic work, including many of his recent works.

Jeff Koons: First Major US Museum Survey in Fifteen Years at Chicago’s MCA [Art Daily]
Jeff Koons exhibit opens at Museum of Contemporary Art [Chicago Tribune]
Jeff Koons opens first major US exhibit after 15 years [International Herald Tribune]
A Jeff Koons Retrospective [The New Yorker]

Koons, Hanging Heart (Blue/Silver) via Curated Object

Chicago is the currently the only stop for Koons’s retrospective.  Jeff Koons worked closely with the MCA in the selection process of his works.  His Hanging Heart (Blue/Silver) hangs in the atrium ceiling serving as a center piece of the exhibition.

Koons, Michael Jackson and Bubbles (1988), via The Work of Art

Other iconic works shown there are Rabbit, Michael Jackson and Bubbles, Balloon Dog (Orange), and Triple Hulk.  Different series from his career are also on display.  The series, “Pre-New” and “New” draw upon American society’s desire for new consumer products.

The series “Equilibrium” stated by Koons, “The show was about equilibrium, and the ads defined personal and social equilibrium. There is also the deception of people acting as if they have accomplished their goals and they haven’t. So the underlying theme, really, was that death is the ultimate state of being. What was paralleling this message was that white middle-class kids have been using art the same way that other ethnic groups have been using basketball — for social mobility.” This show contained the iconic 3 basketballs floating in a tank.

Koons, Three Ball 50/50 Tank (Two Dr. J. Silver Series, One Wilson Supershot) (1985) via Moma

The series, “Luxury” and “Degradation,” first exhibited in 1986, deals with consumer decadence.  Koons rode the subways here in New York City and saw the wide spectrum of advertising from Harlem to Grand Central Station.

“Statuary” is a panoramic view of society.  The sculptures created from stainless steel, draw from art historical themes, from Louis XIV to Bob Hope.  Koons believes stainless steel imitates the economical security of luxury goods.

Koons, Rabbit (1996) via Moma

Banality, first exhibited in 1988, is made from wood, porcelain, and ceramic. This series draws on icons and images in pop culture combined with people and animals in a sexual undertone. These works created on a much larger scale challenge the relationship between art and commodity, the valuable luxury good and the cheap kitsch.

Koons, Ushering In Banality (1988) via Ballardian