This exhibition will bring together a major group of works by Jeff Koons as part of the ARTIST ROOMS series at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art,. From the early New Hoover Convertibles, Green, Red, Brown, New Shelton Wet/Dry 10 Gallon Displaced Doubledecker, 1981-7 to the basketball piece Encased Four Rows 1983-93 to Winter Bears 1988 and a selection of works from his ‘Made in Heaven’ series, the collection offers the possibility for audiences to explore some of the artist’s most important and iconic series. Through his use of everyday items such as vacuum cleaners and basketballs and later by creating oversized kitsch objects, Koons conveys the power of consumer industries and explores the aesthetics and culture of taste. Since the 1980s, the artist has made use of references reminiscent of Pop Art in his use of popular imagery and in his means of production. His brightly coloured sculptures and reliefs, often employing highly reflective surfaces and made with extraordinary precision, also recall the heady excesses of the Baroque.
Through his early use of everyday items such as vacuum cleaners and basketballs and later by creating oversized kitsch objects, Jeff Koons reflects upon the power of consumer industries and the aesthetics and culture of taste.
Koons has made use of the kind of references reminiscent of Pop Art in its use of popular imagery and in his means of production, with multiple assistants working with him in the studio. He demands total perfection from specialists in each chosen medium and his work is manufactured with extraordinary precision.
Drawing together a range of styles and spanning a broad chronology from early 1980s to the late 1990s, the works in ARTIST ROOMS highlight some of the artist’s most important series. In New Hoover Convertibles Koons preserves a banal, household object as a new commodity in perpetuity making its function obsolete within a contained vitrine. The idea of protected perfection is at the heart of Encased, from the artist’s famous series of basketball works, in which he sought to achieve constant equilibrium by suspending the balls in liquid. Winter Bears was first shown in Koons’s landmark exhibition Banality in 1988. The carved wooden figures derive from popular figurines, blown up to great proportions to create a sculpture that is at once familiar yet grotesque.
Koons’s fascination with kitsch and Baroque styles is also found in Mound of Flowers and the Bourgeois Bust, a marble sculpture which depicts the artist and his wife, Ilona. This portrait bust is part of a larger body of work in which Koons and Ilona starred in their own erotic romance, documented through a series of sculpture and photographic works. The billboard Made in Heaven and the Art Magazine Ads use standard advertising methods and were made to publicise the project.
ARTIST ROOMS is a new collection of international contemporary art which has been created through one of the largest and most imaginative gifts of art ever made to museums in Britain. The gift has been made by Anthony d’Offay, with the assistance of the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF), The Art Fund and the Scottish and British Governments. ARTIST ROOMS will be jointly owned and managed by National Galleries of Scotland and Tate on behalf of the nation.
The guiding principle for the creation of ARTIST ROOMS is the concept of individual rooms devoted to particular artists. The collection of 725 works comprises 50 rooms by 25 artists and includes major bodies of work by seminal figures such as Diane Arbus, Joseph Beuys, Vija Celmins, Gilbert & George, Damien Hirst, Anselm Kiefer, Jeff Koons, Jannis Kounellis, Robert Mapplethorpe, Bruce Nauman, Ed Ruscha and Andy Warhol. These are accompanied by an additional ten works by seven artists. Many of the rooms were conceived as specific installations by the artists themselves and have been assembled so that the work of important post-war artists can be seen and appreciated in depth. Photo: This billboard poster is part of a project in which Koons made works depicting his sexual relationship with his wife, the Italian porn-star Ilona Staller, also known as Cicciolina. These provocative works show the naked couple in explicit poses and reference paintings by artists such as Edouard Manet to examine the place of sexuality in visual culture. Koons employed Ilona’s regular photographer and backdrops, to create the distinctive aesthetic associated with ‘glamour’ imagery. Blurring the boundaries between fine art and pornography, Koons challenged the conventions of artistic taste, encouraging his audience to make their own decisions about what is acceptable.
The exhibition will run from 19 March – 3 July 2011 Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh