I love going to museums around the world. In fact, Mom and I try to visit at least one museum in every city we visit (both in the States as well as outside the US). We find it interesting to see what the locals consider “museum worthy.” That certainly holds true in NYC as I’ve seen some c-c-r-r-a-a-z-z-y-y stuff!
Speaking of which, Jeff Koons at the Whitney Museum of American Art would be a great exhibit to catch if you’re in NYC before October 19 (when it closes). From my amateur viewpoint, I wouldn’t call everything I saw “art” but it is a darn fun show and I found myself smiling throughout (with an occasional burst of laughter!).
Check it out for yourself:
This enormous sculpture (called appropriately enough Play-Doh) took Koons two decades to make. At a distance, it really does look like Play-Doh while up close it looks like styrofoam (none of those are right – it’s made from polychromed aluminum). It was a strange sight when you walk in to the gallery!
From Koons’ Celebration Series: Hanging Heart (Purple) was quite a lovely sight, particularly displayed next to the Play-Doh sculpture. In 2007, one of his Hanging Hearts sold for a then record $23.6 million at Sotheby’s. That turned out to be precursor for bigger things to come. In 2013, his Balloon Dog (Orange) sold at Christie’s for $58.4 million (the largest dollar figure for a piece sold at auction by a living artist).
Seal Walrus (Chairs) – the sculpture was fantastic as I really thought it was a rubber pool toy (it had puckers along the seams) and plastic chairs. It’s actually cast aluminum spray-painted to look like the real thing. The detail was spectacular.
Cat on a Clothesline – silly but an intense burst of colors that assault your eyes.
Balloon Venus (Orange) from his Antiquity Series 2008 – 2012: He used a single balloon sculpture as the model for this piece and scaled it up in its exact proportions as he created the piece. Looking at this piece, it was hard to believe it was made of stainless steel as it still retained all the likeness of an inflated balloon.
This and the balloon Puppy at the top of this blog are some of Koons’ most famous works. This is called appropriately – Rabbit (1996) and it’s made of polished stainless steel. I found it a little eery that you could see your reflection in most of his works. I’m sure this was intentional as Koons wanted to pull you into the piece, almost making you feel a part of the sculpture. Interesting effect and a first for me (at least in such quantity).
In his early work, Koons did a series of works called Inflatables made from the cheap trinkets he found scouring shops in NYC (he moved to the city from Pennsylvania in 1977). He was playing on the theme of how cheap items can become art (something that I understand drives many critics crazy).
I took a picture of this and showed my roommate Mary – I told her this was what I was going to make her for Christmas: an exhibit with household sponges and a mirror. We’re gonna make MILLIONS!!! ha, ha, ha. She didn’t seem that impressed.
Cake (1995 – 1997) – this piece was GIANT (a little over 10′ x 10′). Koons using a method called “art fabrication” where he lays out the drawing and specifies the color pallet in every single area, then assistants (anywhere from 90 – 120) actually paint the colors on to the canvas. His “color-by-numbers” system allows his assistants “execute his canvases and sculptures as if they had been done by a single hand”. Sounds strange but the result was pretty awesome to take in. This picture does not do it justice.
Hopefully you get a feel from the pictures of the immensity of his work. It was pretty overwhelming at times yet super fun all the time. Well worth the $20 entry fee (I’ve certainly spent far more and had far less giggles!). Definitely check it out at the Whitney now through mid-October or after it moves to Paris (November 2014 – April 2015) or its final stop – the Guggenheim Bilbao Spain (June September 2015).