Sunday afternoon I headed to the Whitney Museum for the very last day of the Jeff Koons exhibit, and the last time to see the museum itself, before it reopens in Spring 2015 in the Meatpacking District beside the High Line.
I came into the exhibit interested to learn more about Jeff Koons, as I knew little other than being intrigued by his larger-than-life sculptures. One of the things that struck me the most was reading about his unwavering desire to create—not just anything, with any old material—he insisted on the highest standards and quality materials to fabricate his work. It seemed Koons was going to produce his art the way he envisioned it or not at all, no compromising on perfection. A quality I truly appreciate and admire in a person.
However, my favorite factoid about Jeff Koons (other than his marriage to Italian pornography star and politician La Cicciolina, who he collaborated with for his Made in Heaven series) is that he became a Wall Street commodities broker to fund his art…business-type AND artist, two worlds that often butt heads and rarely collide. Yet if you can master—or at least understand—both, like Koons (and Steve Jobs), that is truly the pinnacle of influencer and world changer. Making it no surprise that his Balloon Dog (Orange), one of his first mirror-polished stainless steel dogs to be constructed, has reached a world record of most expensive piece of art sold by any living artist— $58.4 Million. The Balloon Dogs, part of the Celebration series, are some of the most recognizable and beloved sculptures in contemporary art, conceptually reflecting on childhood joy, hope and innocence, while literally reflecting its subjects as art. After all it is always how we individually internalize and feel about art that makes its worth. This particular exhibit seemed to be extremely well attended by young people, possibly for its artistic selfie potential—now if we can only coax them into the NY Philharmonic→Step 1 make classical music more visually stimulating and selfie worthy…even pornographic if need be.
If you’re interested in learning more about this generation defining art check out Steven Colbert’s interview with Jeff Koon’s, both funny and informative. OR you may want to see V Magazine’s spread of Miranda Kerr as Cicciolina.
(One of my favorites was the sculpture of stacked white chairs, complete with barcodes and pool toys made of metal, I was instantly transported to the early 90’s growing up in Buffalo, NY. )
Photos by Sam and Peter; using the iPhone 6