Balloon Dog (Red), 1994–2000, High chromium stainless steel with transparent color coating, 307.3 x 363.2 x 114.3 cm, European Private Collection © Jeff Koons
The Fondation Beyeler is presenting the first exhibition ever devoted by a Swiss museum to the American artist Jeff Koons (b. 1955). Koons has for decades been causing a furore with the combination of popular and high culture that informs his art.
Tulips, 1995–98, Oil on canvas, 282.7 x 331.9 cm, Private collection © Jeff Koons
The extensive presentation focuses on three central series of works – The New, Banality and Celebration – which represent crucial stages in Koons’s development and lead to the nucleus of his thinking and creative activity. The New comprises the ready-made-like cleaning appliances of his early period, symbols of newness and purity. Banality includes those traditionally crafted sculptures in porcelain and wood which have since become (post-)modern icons. Finally, in the Celebration series, on which Koons has been working for almost twenty years, appear high-gloss steel sculptures of unique material perfection, and large-format paintings in which the artist celebrates childhood in a veritably baroque way. Koons’s equally spectacular and subtle works are repeatedly concerned with themes such as innocence, beauty, sexuality and happiness. These reflect his conception of an art that is accessible to every viewer.
Winter Bears, 1988m Polychromed wood, 121.9 x 111.8 x 39.4 cmm, The Rachel and Jean-Pierre Lehmann Collection © Jeff Koons