I think art teaches us how to feel, and what our parameters can be. It makes us more engaged with life.
Gagosian presents recent works by Jeff Koons from the Gazing Ball series.
Making use of conceptual constructs including the ancient, the everyday, and the sublime, Koons creates luxurious icons and elaborate tableaux, which, beneath their captivating exteriors, engage the viewer in a metaphysical dialogue with cultural history.
With the Gazing Ball series, Koons draws attention to the continuity of images as they pass through time. In each work, a blue mirrored, hand-blown glass gazing ball—a convention from eighteenth-century garden design—is affixed to a replica of a famous painting or sculpture, adding a layer of sensory experience to familiar masterpieces. Installed within these art historical milestones, the gazing ball reflects its surroundings, uniting painting, sculpture, and architecture.
Included in this exhibition are seven Gazing Ball paintings, ranging from mythical and pastoral scenes by Jacques-Louis David, Hendrick Goltzius, Nicolas Poussin, and Tintoretto to a self-portrait by Rembrandt and a stark depiction of a dead fox in the snow by Gustave Courbet. Koons captures the artists’ variations in style, technique, and subject matter, offering a glimpse into the past, while the gleaming orbs locate the viewer in the immediate present. In the only Gazing Ball sculpture in the show, the blue sphere is placed atop a copy of Marcel Duchamp’s Bottle Rack (1914), raising questions about the definition of the readymade, as well as its relevance within Koons’s larger oeuvre.
Jeff Koons was born in 1955 in York, PA, and lives and works in New York. Collections include the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Broad, Los Angeles; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas; Museo Jumex, Mexico City; Tate, London; Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, Germany; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Vanhaerents Art Collection, Brussels; Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Donnaregina, Naples, Italy; Pinault Collection, Venice, Italy; Museu Coleção Berardo, Lisbon, Portugal; Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo; and QAGOMA, Brisbane, Australia. Recent institutional exhibitions include Jeff Koons on the Roof, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2008); Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2008); Jeff Koons: Celebration, Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin (2008); Jeff Koons: Popeye Series, Serpentine Galleries, London (2008); Jeff Koons: Versailles, Château de Versailles, France (2008–09); ARTIST ROOMS: Jeff Koons, National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh (2011); Jeff Koons: The Painter and The Sculptor, Schirn Kunsthalle and Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung, Frankfurt, Germany (2012); Fondation Beyeler, Basel, Switzerland (2012); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2014, traveled to Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; and Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain, through 2015); Jeff Koons in Florence, Palazzo Vecchio and Piazza della Signoria, Florence, Italy (2015); Jeff Koons: Now, Newport Street Gallery, London (2016); and Masterpieces, De Nieuwe Kerk Amsterdam (2018).all images © the gallery and the artist(s)