I don’t know about you, but ever since falling in love with Jeff Koons’s magenta Balloon Venus (2008–12) in his Frankfurt retrospective last year, I’ve even dying to see what the sculpture looks like in the artist’s other trademark colors. (Mr. Koons tends to make his balloon sculptures in “unique editions” of five, each a different color.) So it was painfully bittersweet to walk into the master’s great Gagosian blowout earlier this year and to find the magenta one again. It felt good to be reunited, but where was the next color?
the end of the world
Near the opening of Noa Noa, Paul Gauguin’s journal from his travels in Tahiti, the artist describes an encounter with the Tahitian governor, “the negro Lacascade, who received me as though I had been an important personage.” The French government had sent Gauguin to the island on “an artistic mission,” but the governor and his entourage, Gauguin writes, believed this “was only an official synonym for espionage.” Of the island, he continues:
“It was Europe—the Europe I had thought to shake off—and that under the aggravating circumstances of colonial snobbism, and the imitation, grotesque even to the point of caricature, of our customs, fashions, vices and absurdities of civilization.
Was I to have made this far journey, only to find the very thing which I had fled?”
The artist Ashley Bickerton, for whom Gauguin is something of a perpetual elephant in the room, moved to Bali exactly 20 years ago to flee a different kind of colonial snobbism—the New York art world. The gallery boom of the 1980s had been kind to Mr. Bickerton, until it wasn’t. By his count, he is now on his third comeback. In August, about a month before his fourth solo show was set to open at Lehmann Maupin Gallery here, we talked on Skype from his home in the tropics, situated almost precisely halfway around the world from New York. I had just woken up, and he was preparing for bed.
Fashion Week Observed
How appropriate that Jeff Koons, the world’s most decadent artist, has designed a Champagne bottle for Dom Perignon. He was feted last night at a party in the West Village, which attracted the Fashion Week hive into a sweaty studio on Greenwich Street. Read More
Over at The New York Times Carol Vogel reports that at Christie’s fall contemporary auction Peter Brant will sell an orange Jeff Koons balloon dog with an estimate of $35 million to $55 million.
Poor Los Angeles. Poor, poor Los Angeles. Last year its Museum of Contemporary Art scuttled plans to host Tate Modern’s Damien Hirst show and an exhibition of Richard Hamilton’s work, and now MOCA is saying that it will not open its Koons retrospective in January, as previously planned. The show will debut at the Whitney in June of next year, and then travel to Paris’s Centre Pompidou in October. A rep for MOCA told The Observer, “We anticipate a 2015 opening.”
Jeff Koons has teamed up with Dom Pérignon on a limited-edition rosé package that will retail for $20,000. It is a 2003 vintage, which the company’s chef de cave (cellar master), Richard Geoffroy, tells WWD is “as bold, as provocative…as full bodied, intense, sensuous as can be.” That’s actually also a pretty good description of Mr. Koons’s amazing show at Gagosian Gallery right now.
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/seo services 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.