Jeff Koons’s two-gallery blowout, his first large-scale appearance in commercial galleries in the city in 10 years and the unrivaled event of the spring art season (barring, perhaps, the Frieze Art Fair), is a roaring success, filled with feats of engineering and artistic choices that are as gleefully peculiar and perverse as any he has ever made. Mr. Koons strives to please, and he delivers.
This morning a call went out on the New York Foundation for the Arts job board for a wood carver who might be interested in “full-time employment with leading contemporary artist Jeff Koons in a demanding studio atmosphere.”
The Drinks Business blog reports that Jeff Koons has been tapped to create the label for Château Mouton Rothschild’s 2010 Pauillac first growth. Previous artists to have that honor include Warhol, Picasso and Dalí. (Thanks to Art Observed for bringing this to our attention.)
The Art Newspaper reported in Miami today that Jeff Koons has planned a show at David Zwirner for this May, his first with the gallery and a major coup for the blue-chip Chelsea stalwart.
The fall’s auction season in New York is turning out to be a record-breaking one. Tuesday night Sotheby’s made its highest-ever total with a postwar and contemporary auction that came to $375.1 million. And earlier this evening, a Christie’s sale in the same category brought in $412.3 million, the highest total ever for an auction of contemporary art. Led by house auctioneer Jussi Pylkkänen, the lively sale, which topped its high estimate of $411.8 million, saw new records for Richard Serra, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Franz Kline, Richard Diebenkorn, Donald Judd, Mark Grotjahn and Jeff Koons. Mr. Koons is now the second most expensive living artist at auction, after Gerhard Richter.
“Were you waiting for someone?” Jeff Koons asked a scrum of photographers this morning, as he walked up to his sculpture Tulips (1995-2004), which has been installed in a black pool outside Christie’s in Rockefeller Center. The sculpture, seven tulips of varying colors fabricated from mirror-polished stainless steel in an edition of five, is part of Mr. Koons’s “Celebration” series and is expected to bring in between $20 million and $30 million at Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale on Nov. 14. Until then, the enormous gleaming bouquet, which Christie’s in a statement called the artist’s “most complex technical creation to date,” will remain on view for the public to take in.
Last Friday evening in the Guggenheim’s basement auditorium, Jeff Koons, in his trademark smooth, soothing tone, told a sold-out crowd about something he often does before he goes to sleep. “At night, what I like to do, as an individual, when my wife is getting ready to go to bed and my children are already in bed, I go online,” he said excitedly, “and I just look at Picasso’s work.”
Mr. Koons said that Marcel Duchamp has long been a huge influence on him, but that he has become more impressed with Picasso over the past two decades. In fact, he’s started collecting the artist’s work, and has loaned one of his paintings to the exhibition on view in the Guggenheim’s galleries upstairs, “Picasso Black and White.” A 1969 scene of a bald man aggressively kissing a woman, it hangs near the top of the rotunda.
Jeff Koons is having his first exhibition in Brussels in 20 years; it opens Oct. 6 at Almine Rech gallery. And that is news! But far more impressive than that news is the following sentence in the exhibition’s press release which may, as indicated in our headline, be the best sentence in any press release ever released in the history of press releases released to the press.
Americans for the Arts today released the names of the luminaries that will receives its annual National Arts Awards, which will be presented at a dinner on Oct. 15 at Cipriani on East 42nd Street.
Reporting from London’s Impressionist and contemporary art auctions, Souren Melikian reports a “noticeable change of mood this week in the art market.” [International Herald Tribune]
Cecilia Alemani, curator and director of High Line Art, has joined Twitter. [@ceciliaalemani]