Appearance Stripped Bare: Desire and the Object in the Work of Marcel Duchamp and Jeff Koons, Even (dual show)
Fundación Jumex, Mexico
19 May - 29 September 2019
The exhibition overlays the work of Marcel Duchamp and Jeff Koons—two of the most influential artists of the twentieth century—to address key concepts about objects, commodities, desires, and the artist’s relationship to society.
The first major exhibition to bring together these two legendary artists, Appearance Stripped Bare places the work of Koons and Duchamp side by side, as in a hall of mirrors that reflects, distorts, and amplifies the artists’ similarities and differences within a complex “regime of coincidences,” to borrow one of Duchamp’s peculiar expressions.
Fundación Jumex, Mexico
Jeff Koons, Ernesto Neto, Richard Prince et al.
Happy! (group show)
NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale
27 October 2019 – 5 July 2020
NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale presents Happy!, a new exhibition of contemporary works produced by artists who aim to engage the viewer emotionally. As in life, sorrow and happiness are intertwined in their works. Happy! is organized by NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale and is curated by Bonnie Clearwater, the Museum’s director and chief curator, who states, “Many of these artists acknowledge that making art is an essential means for them to work out their own trauma and frustrations, and they suggest that art can provide viewers with a sense of well-being that will help them cope with life’s challenges.”
Happy! includes works by Gesner Abelard, Kathryn Andrews, Cory Arcangel, Eugene Brands, Francesco Clemente, Tracey Emin, Christina Forrer, FriendsWithYou, Félix González-Torres, Adler Guerrier, Keith Haring, Asger Jorn, Samson Kambalu, KAWS, Ragnar Kjartansson, Susan Te Kahurangi King, Jeff Koons, Takashi Murakami, Ernesto Neto, Tim Noble & Sue Webster, Yoko Ono, Jorge Pantoja, Carl-Henning Pederson, Enoc Perez, Esther Phillips, Fernand Pierre, Richard Prince, Rob Pruitt, Mark Rothko, Robert Saint-Brice, Kenny Scharf, Alake Shilling, Frances Trombly, Andy Warhol, and others.
NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale
Absolute Value / From the Collection of Marie and Jose Mugrabi (solo show)
Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv
10 March – 10 October 2020
Regarded by many as the most important, influential, popular, and controversial living artist in the world, Jeff Koons is a unique cultural phenomenon, whose resonances and influences extend far beyond the confines of the art world.
Koons (born 1955, York, Pennsylvania, USA) is the foremost of the American Neo-Pop artists who emerged in the 1980s and explored the meaning of art and spectacle in a media-saturated era, while adopting an aesthetics that accentuates the consumption culture that came to the fore at this time. The exhibition presents a selection of large-scale works from different periods in Koons’s career, from the 1980s to the present. The works are from the artist’s most renowned series, spanning his diverse spectrum of mediums and techniques.
Koons’s work undercuts the division between “good taste” and “bad taste,” mixing together “high” with “low” culture and kitsch. He continues the trajectory of 1960s Pop artists by making — with unprecedented intensity — an incriminating and fetishistic connection between art and the world of commodities. In his early career, Koons operated within the tradition started by Marcel Duchamp, presenting readymade objects, such as vacuum cleaners and basketballs, within illuminated display cases — thereby elevating commercial and domestic objects and highlighting the allure of new products. Later on in his career, various colorful kitsch images replaced the industrial products: puppies, flowers, teddy-bears, piglets, or other playthings made of porcelain or wood by craftsmen on Koons’ behalf. Koons further developed his practice of appropriating imagery from popular culture by inflating simple objects to huge dimensions in stainless steel, marble, or other materials. Other sculptures featured, in overblown extravagance, celebrities (such as Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga), inflatable pool toys, or cartoon characters (such as Popeye and the Hulk — themselves figures of bulging masculinity). These works were produced with extreme perfectionism, giving them an almost religious aura and rendering them highly coveted objects of desire for art collectors and the general public alike.
Absolute value is a mathematical concept, denoting size in numerical terms: the absolute value of a number is the distance between it and the zero point on the number axis. The use of this notion in the exhibition’s title raises the question of value as a fundamental notion in Koons’s art, and highlights the long controversy over the attribution of value (or lack thereof) to artistic objects (echoing the question of “Is it art?” asked with regard to Duchamp’s Fountain, which is a standard urinal). The concept also finds expression in Koons’s practice of merging together symbolic value and economic value, thereby creating an arena in which one cannot – and possibly shouldn’t — tell them apart. Not least, the title reflects a search for an imaginary distance (absolute value) within the span of art history, of which Koons’s art is both a part and deviation.
The “Jeff Koons phenomenon” precedes Jeff Koons’s actual works and the physical encounter with them. There are few artists whose works are so etched into the collective cultural memory that an encounter with any single artwork of theirs is suffused with associations of all the others. The title therefore posits Koons himself — the artist and the phenomenon — as an axiom of contemporary art: a controversial artist, who is also a phenomenon that cannot be dismissed, a genius, and a symbol of an era.
Tel Aviv Museum of Art
Glenn Brown, Jeff Koons et al.
Inspiration – Contemporary Arts & Classics (group show)
Ateneum Art Museum, Finnish National Gallery, Helsinki
18 June – 20 September 2020
How have international contemporary artists been inspired by the classics of European art? And why is it these works, in particular, that have become known around the world? Inspiration presents art that draws inspiration from iconic masterpieces, created by today’s most interesting contemporary artists. In the exhibition, the original works are referenced, for example, through replicas, prints, plaster casts and abundant archive materials.
The history of Western art includes a great number of works that have become famous throughout the world. The subjects of many of these works involve classical mythology, biblical stories, or notable people and events. This exhibition is a contemporary take on iconic works and stories from art history. Famous paintings and sculptures have served as inspiration for contemporary artists whose viewpoints range from veneration of old masters to critical contemplation of power structures.
This exhibition was originally on show at the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm in spring 2020.
Glenn Brown Studio
Ateneum Art Museum
Jeff Koons, Albert Oehlen et al.
FOREVER YOUNG — 10 Jahre Museum Brandhorst (group show)
Museum Brandhorst, Munich
24 May 2019 – 19 July 2020
The museum’s tenth birthday in May 2019 is the occasion for an exhibition of its expanded collection. “Forever Young – 10 Years Museum Brandhorst” traces an arc ranging from the 1960s to present day art production, and combines many new acquisitions of recent years with the collection’s more familiar highlights.
The exhibition includes some 250 works by 44 artists and has three main themes: The first is Pop art, and especially its often overlooked political dimension. The second strand is dedicated to the thorny topic of subjectivity in the present day—and therefore also the question of how late capitalism influences identities. The third section turns to one of the Museum Brandhorst’s key strengths: Contemporary painting and the issue of how this traditional artistic genre renews itself time and again. With “Painting 2.0: Painting in the Information Age” the museum has formulated important theses on this in recent years, and continued it in many well respected individual exhibitions, such as “Wade Guyton: The New York Studio”, “Kerstin Brätsch: Innovation” and “Jutta Koether – Tour de Madame”. Especially for the anniversary, the gallery presenting Twombly’s rose paintings can be seen once again in its original form as envisaged by the artist. A prominent new acquisition is also presented from his very last work series, “Camino Real”, 2011. With its red, yellow and orange loops on a bright-green background, the painting ranks among Twombly’s most color-intensive works from a career spanning more than 60 years.