The first solo exhibition of work by the American artist Jeff Koons since his Serpentine show in 2009, will be presented at the Newport Street Gallery near Vauxhall Bridge. Titled ‘Now’ the show will be curated by Damien Hirst, and run for five months, from 18th May to 16th October 2016.
Spanning thirty-five years of Koons’s mostly escalating career, ‘Now’ will include over thirty paintings, works on paper and sculptures drawn from Hirst’s collection. The exhibition features iconic works, dating from 1979 to 2014, from Koons’s series Inflatables, The New, Equilibrium, Luxury and Degradation, Made in Heaven, Popeye, and Hulk Elvis, amongst others.
‘Now’ is the first major UK show to be devoted to the artist since the exhibition, ‘Jeff Koons: Popeye Series’, at the Serpentine Gallery in 2009.
Born in 1955, Jeff Koons is widely considered to be one of the most significant artists to have emerged in the postwar era. Since the late 1970s, his diverse work has explored themes pertaining to taste, consumerism, mass culture, beauty, acceptance and the role of the artist. Having once stated, ‘everything already exists in this world’, Koons has also reconfigured the concept of the readymade.
Hirst first saw Koons’s work – which he has been collecting for twelve years – in the 1987–1988 group exhibition ‘New York Art Now’, presented at the Saatchi Gallery during Hirst’s second year at Goldsmiths college.
Jeff Koons was born in York, Pennsylvania, in 1955. He studied at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He received a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 1976. Since his first solo exhibition in 1980, Koons’s work has been shown in major galleries and institutions throughout the world. A full survey of Koons’s career was the subject of a major exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, which travelled to the Centre Pompidou in Paris and to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. Koons lives and works in New York City.
Newport Street Gallery opened in Vauxhall, south London, in October 2015. Spanning five buildings, the gallery presents solo or group exhibitions of work drawn from Damien Hirst’s extensive art collection, which he has been building since the late 1980s. Hirst’s interest in curating dates back to the beginning of his artistic career and his organisation of the groundbreaking ‘Freeze’ exhibition in south London in 1988. On the opening of the gallery, Hirst said: “I’ve always loved art and art deserves to be shown in great spaces, so I’ve always dreamed of having my own gallery where I can exhibit work by the artists I love. I believe art should be experienced by as many people as possible and I’ve felt guilty owning work that is stored away in boxes where no one can see it, so having a space where I can put on shows from the collection is a dream come true.”
Right: New Hoover Quik Broom, New Hoover Celebrity IV 1980 Two vacuum cleaners, acrylic, fluorescent lights © Jeff Koons
Left: Titi 2004-2009 Mirror-polished stainless steel with transparent color coating © Jeff Koons