Visione Artistica: the "inflatable" sculptures by Jeff Koons

Jeff Koons is a big question mark in contemporary art, it is difficult to decide whether he is a fan of pop culture and consumerism or an ironic critic, his reserved personality and his obsession with kitsch complicate his understanding. He is an important influence on younger artists such as Damien Hirst (future I will write about him).


Koons is an early adept to appropriations: 8 years already signed reproductions of great masters of painting and sold in the shop of his father. Graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Arts in 1976, and soon after he moved to New York where he quickly won praise from an MoMA’s eccentric seller . At the time he was bold by incorporating ready-mades and inflatable toys in his works.

It became an iconic name in the 1980s to promote himself shamelessly and give the status of art to objects of mass production. He produced a series of vacuum cleaners in the “New Series” (1980-1983) and one of basketballs in the series “Equilibrium” (1985), exploring both objects of the American culture.

Throughout the 1980s, he transformed kitsch toys and objects in large sculptures that ranged from porcelain to stainless steel. In the series “Banality” (1988), Koons produced a in natural size sculpture of Michael Jackson and his chimpanzee pet, Bubbles, putting in debate topics such as taste and celebrity.

In 1991, he gained even more visibility when he has married Ilona Staller, the porn actress and member of the Italian parliament. At the Venice Biennale he exposed the  controversy “Made in Heaven” (1990-1991) where he made sculptures and photographs that depict the couple in sexually explicit poses He used glass, oil, marble and polychrome wood in this works .   

However, he achieved his greatest success with “Puppy” (1992), a terrier of 12 m of height installed in 1997 in the courtyard outside the Guggenheim in Bilbao. Since the mid-1990s, he has been producing sculptures inspired by the large inflatable world that he so much admires. In 2008 he earned a mega retrospective exhibition at the Palace of Versailles.



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