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Jeff Koons, Richard Prince et al.

Brand New: Art and Commodity in the 1980s (group show)
The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington
14 February – 13 May 2018

Jeff Koons, New! New Too!, 1983 © Jeff Koons
Jeff Koons, New! New Too!, 1983 © Jeff Koons

This spring, the Hirshhorn presents the ‘80s as you’ve never seen it before.  Brand New is the largest museum exhibition to explore the collision of art and commerce in the 1980s, an iconic decade when artwork emerged as a product and the artist, a brand.

Razor-sharp, witty, satirical, and deeply subversive, these more than 150 works from 66 of the most influential artists of the decade reveal the fascinating ways art infiltrated the worlds of advertising and business, launching a revolution that has come to define contemporary art today.

Organized chronologically, Brand New features rarely seen paintings, sculpture and installations from the biggest names in art today, alongside their lesser-known counterparts, including Ashley Bickerton, Jessica Diamond, General Idea, Peter Halley, Jenny Holzer, Jeff Koons, Barbara Kruger, Peter Nagy, Joel Otterson, Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman, Haim Steinbach, Meyer Vaisman, and Julia Wachtel, among others. It also features key multimedia installations that recreated for the first time since the 80s, including seminal works by Barbara Bloom, Gretchen Bender, and Krzysztof Wodiczko.

Thirty years ago, seismic shifts in politics, economics and technology brought about a golden era of contemporary art in the United States, particularly in New York City, with its heady Wall Street wealth and gritty streets. During this time, artists became celebrities, brand names, and power brokers, selling themselves and their art as products, forming, in the process, the undisputed center of the contemporary art world.

Consumerism was quickly defining the decade, and the modern brand was driving social culture, led by major multinational companies like Pepsi, Nike, and CNN. It also saw the birth of major cultural forces that continue to shape our world today—MTV. Personal computing. Branding. New Wave. The AIDS epidemic. Reaganomics. Pop-ups. Madonna. Neon. Punk. Gentrification. Cable TV.

Many associate the art of the 1980s with large-scale painting or Neo-Expressionism, but Brand New suggests an alternative history. It looks instead at the key group of New York’s counterculture artists who appropriated the language of modern commerce—logos, advertising, products, even cable television—as a new and unprecedented medium for artistic creation. This radical approach to art making set them apart from artists who commanded the greatest market interest at the time, and by rethinking the connection between objects and concepts in the 1980s, they changed the landscape of the art world forever.

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington


Additional:

Jeff Koons

Jeff Koons at the Ashmolean (solo show)
The Ashmolean, Oxford
7 February – 9 June 2019

Jeff Koons, One Ball Total Equilibrium Tank (Spalding Dr. J 241 Series), 1985 © Jeff Koons
Jeff Koons, One Ball Total Equilibrium Tank (Spalding Dr. J 241 Series), 1985 © Jeff Koons

This major exhibition of the work of Jeff Koons (b. 1955), curated by Koons himself together with guest curator Norman Rosenthal, will feature 17 important works, 14 of which have never been exhibited in the UK before. They span the artist’s entire career and his most well-known series including Equilibrium, Statuary, Banality, Antiquity and his recent Gazing Ball sculptures and paintings.

The Ashmolean, Oxford


Jeff Koons

The Elephant in the Room. Sculptures of the Marx Collection and of the Collection of the Nationalgalerie (group show)
Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin
1 November 2018 - 8 September 2019

Jeff Koons, New Shop-Vac Wet/Dry, 1980 © Jeff Koons / Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie, Sammlung Marx / Jochen Littkemann
Jeff Koons, New Shop-Vac Wet/Dry, 1980 © Jeff Koons / Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie, Sammlung Marx / Jochen Littkemann

The Elephant in the Room – Sculptures of the Marx Collection and of the Collection of the Nationalgalerie on display at Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin addresses an essential aspect of sculpture from the 1960s: the spatial effect of sculptures. With works by Absalon, Joseph Beuys, Donald Judd, Jeff Koons, Rachel Whiteread and others the exhibition focuses on the relationship between works of art and spatiality. Drawn from the English expression, “the elephant in the room”, the elephant in the exhibition title refers to those forces and factors that despite their not being an integral part of the sculptures exert their presence in the exhibition space and are thus an essential component of an expanded concept of art that originated in the 1960s.

Staatliche Museen zu Berlin