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Skin Fruit, curated by Jeff Koons

February 25, 2010 by Ellie

Skin Fruit: Selections from the Dakis Joannou Collection

Curated by Jeff Koons

Skin Fruit will be the first exhibition in the United States of the Athens-based Dakis Joannou Collection, renowned as one of the leading collections of contemporary art in the world. This will also be the first exhibition curated by Koons, whose early work inspired the evolution of the Joannou collection.

Skin Fruit will include over 100 works by 50 international artists spanning several generations. Focusing on the body in contemporary art, the exhibition will spotlight the age-old preoccupation with the human form as a vessel of and vehicle for experience. Koons’s title Skin Fruit alludes to notions of genesis, evolution, original sin, and sexuality. Skin and fruit evoke the essential tensions between interior and exterior, between what we see and what we consume.

Starting with the first, now-legendary exhibitions, such as Artificial Nature and Post Human, at his DESTE Foundation’s non-profit museum in Athens, Dakis Joannou has focused on works that present a new image of man. It is no coincidence that his collection developed in the cultural context of Greece, where Classical sculpture defined the Western canon of anatomical representation. Artists have arrived at a much more uncertain image of mankind in this new century, in which bodies are still idealized but also are assaulted by forces of our own making. Joannou’s collection is comprised of more than 1,500 works by 400 contemporary artists, from the most eminent to those just emerging. For Skin Fruit, Koons has selected sculptures, works on paper, paintings, installations, and videos by a group of artists including David Altmejd, Janine Antoni, Matthew Barney, Ashley Bickerton, Nathalie Djurberg, Robert Gober, Mike Kelley, Terence Koh, Mark Manders, Paul McCarthy, Tim Noble and Sue Webster, Richard Prince, Cindy ShermanKiki Smith, Christiana Soulou, Jannis Varelas, Kara Walker, Andro Wekua and Franz West, among others.

The show will also premiere new works such as Charles Ray’s re-envisioned Revolution Counter-Revolution (1990/2010); a new public installation of Jenny Holzer’s Selections from the Survival Series (1984); and a special 3-D book project by Italian artist Robert Cuoghi, and will include living sculptures by Pawel Althamer and Tino Sehgal. Skin Fruit will feature only one work by Koons–his One Ball Total Equilibrium Tank (1985)–the first major artwork that Dakis Joannou acquired, initiating the collection that would grow to be one of the world’s finest. Within the context of the exhibition this influential object, with its both familiar and mysterious orb suspended in fluid, becomes a womb, a point of origin and of departure. The installation for “Skin Fruit” has been conceived by Koons as a kind of panorama, with frequent shifts in scale and unconventional juxtapositions. Role-playing games and dramas occur: a man will stage a religious ritual; a sculpture literally sings out; white chocolate monuments tower above visitor’s heads; voracious creatures eat themselves and each other while bodies are buried or frozen; icons and deities are adored or dethroned.

For more information on the exhibition and gallery opening times, visit the New Museum.