According to the Whitney Museum in NYC, "Jeff Koons is widely regarded as one of the most important, influential, popular, and controversial artists of the postwar era." Whether you agree or disagree with that statement, I don't care. He is awesome and I'll tell you why.
I had an opportunity to view the Jeff Koons: A Retrospective show this past week and was left more smitten than ever with the artist. I have always had a fondness for pop art and a true love for the likes of Andy Warhol and everything he accomplished. He was one of the first mainstream artists to say that it was ok to manufacture art in a way that was hands off but still all yours. Jeff takes that idea to an insane level of execution.
The four floor exhibition was a trip through nearly 150 objects that represented the artists career and development from 1978 to the present. His fondness and respect for the found object is apparent in almost every object he creates. The fact that he then takes those common found objects of interest and replicates them masterfully, beautifully, pristinely in difficult and unforgiving materials is divine.
A sculptor friend of mine hates Jeff Koons. Say's that he can't respect the man because he's so far removed from the making. I say nonsense to that. He may employ over 125 people but this work is his. He's not pretending his hands have made every piece. And I get there is a physical connection to an artist sculpting or carving or building something on his own. But it's simply not necessary with his work. I want to lick the insanely perfect finish of the Balloon Dog. I want to be fooled by the precision of the oil paintings photo like realness. I want to surround myself with his aesthetic.
It's playful, and purposeful, and it makes me happy. I don't love and covet every piece. The Kama Sutra pieces and the self portraits are a bit self obsessed. The pile of playdoh doesn't make me drool. Yet I respect his exploration with those elements and a bit of targeted porn will never scare me away from wishing I was a billionaire so I could own one of his rabbits.