Jeff Koons at Brighton Museum and Art Gallery on

Exhibition running from May 11 2013 until Sep 08 2013

Brighton Museum & Art Gallery plays host to an exciting exhibition of work by Jeff Koons, who is widely regarded as one of the world’s most important living artists.

This exhibition resonates wonderfully with Brighton, given the city’s reputation for extravagance and transgression epitomised by George IV’s fantastical residence, the Royal Pavilion – a building that is physically and emotionally in the centre of Brighton. Brighton as a media-saturated city with a deservedly ‘cheeky’ reputation will provide a new and apt context for Koons’s playful challenge of good and bad taste, and high and low culture. 

Jeff Koons’s provocative and playful work reflects upon the power of consumer industries and the aesthetics and culture of taste. Extending practices of the historical avant-garde and Pop Art, Koons’s works question distinctions between mass culture and high art, pornography and the classical nude, sentimental affections and sublime feeling.

On show will be works from important series in Koons’s oeuvre such as The New (1980-1987), Equilibrium (1983-1993), Banality (1988), Made in Heaven (1989-1991), Easyfun (1999-2000) and Popeye (2002). Early pieces on show - which incorporate everyday items like vacuum cleaners and basketballs - include New Hoover Convertibles, Green, Red, Brown, New Shelton  Wet/Dry 10 Gallon Displaced Doubledecker (1981-7) and Encased Four Rows (1983 93). These pieces will be displayed alongside Koons’s later skilfully crafted objects such as the wood-carved Winter Bears (1988), an enlarged replica of a typical gift shop item, and the marble sculpture Bourgeois Bust - Jeff and Ilona (1991), a representation of Koons and his former wife (the porn star and Italian politician Ilona Staller) locked in a passionate embrace.

Koons has always used his art to position himself self-consciously as an active participant in and manipulator of the art market and celebrity culture. These self-reflexive moves are evident in Koons’s Art Magazine Ads (Art in America), (1988-9) used to publicise the exhibition of his Banality series in 1988. The ads pre-empt potential criticism, revealing Koons as a king of the art world, complete with fawning pin-up girls, or juxtaposed with a sow and a piglet.

Koons also invites viewers to consider themselves as artworks. Easyfun (1999), a series of large animal-shaped coloured mirrors, reflect and frame viewers and the surrounding artworks in a playful fun-house style. The innocent glee in Easyfun has slightly more menacing expression in Koons’s Caterpillar (with chains) (2002), an enormous aluminium replica of an inflatable toy hanging from red steel chains.

The works on display are taken from ARTIST ROOMS, an inspirational collection of modern and contemporary art acquired for the nation by Tate and The National Galleries of Scotland through the generosity of Anthony d'Offay with additional support from funders, including the Art Fund

OPENING HOURS:  Tue – Sun: 10.00 – 17.00

Image Credits:

Jeff Koons, Caterpillar Chains, 2003, polychromed aluminum, coated steel chain, 96 1/2 x 43 1/2 x 77 inches, 245.1 x 110.5 x 195.6 cm © Jeff Koons

Jeff Koons, Winter Bears, 1988, polychromed wood, 48 x 44 x 15 1/2 inches, 121.9 x 111.8 x 39.4 cm © Jeff Koons

 Jeff Koons, Encased - Four Rows (6 Wilson Michael Jordan Basketballs, 6 Wilson MVP Basketballs, 12 Spalding Zi/O Basketballs), 1983 - 1993/98 glass, plastic, steel, basketballs 80 x 55 x 17 3/8 inches 203.2 x 139.7 x 44.1 cm © Jeff Koons

Jeff Koons, New Hoover Convertibles Green, Red, Brown, New Shelton Wet/Dry 10-Gallon, Displaced Doubledecker, 1981-1987 four vacuum cleaners, acrylic, fluorescent lights 99 x 54 x 28 inches 251.5 x 137.2 x 71.1 cm © Jeff Koons

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