Jeff Koons New Exhibition Amid Antiquities

US artist to exhibit new sculptural work in Frankfurt’s Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung – a museum normally devoted to ancient-to-classical masterpieces

Frankfurt’s Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung museum is about to receive a postmodern makeover, with the 19th century villa (which normally houses ancient, medieval and baroque sculpture) set to host an exhibition by US artist Jeff Koons in June 2012. Due to the intermingling of Koon’s work with the permanent collection, the exhibition will bizarrely have to be co-organised by the head of the Liebieghaus’s antiquities collection, Vinzenz Brinkmann.

Traditionally, the Liebieghaus aims to provide an overview of 5000 years of sculpture from Ancient Egypt to classicism – ‘To illustrate the development of sculpture during the historical periods by collecting outstanding or characteristic works’. Koons apparently fell in love with the museum upon visiting Frankfurt on his way to the German art manufacturer’s Arnold – the company responsible for his large-scale works in polished steel.

So, when Max Hollein, the director of the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, approached Koons to stage a solo show in the Kunsthalle, the artist suggested the smaller Liebieghaus, where Hollein is also the director. But, when you are Jeff Koons, you can, of course, have it both ways, and an exhibition of paintings by Koons will be on show in the Schirn simultaneous to the Liebieghaus show.

Hollein is a man with fingers in many pies, with the third Frankfurt institution under his direction about to reveal a room-sized installation by Thomas Demand.  The Städel Museum will next month reveal Demand’s Metzlersaal (2011) – a response to the collection’s Old Master paintings and the artist’s largest site-specific work to date.

The commission is part of the Städel’s active acquisitions policy, and last year, the museum borrowed over 600 works of art on long-term loan, plus more than 200 photographs from the Deutsche Bank collection. In February 2012, it will reveal a new 3,000 sq. m gallery space with eight-metre-high ceilings, designed by architects Schneider and Schumacher.

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