New York Opens Two Koons Shows

Gagosian and Zwirner galleries are both presenting exhibitions of the artist in major new shows at both Gagosian and Zwirner's New York galleries. The exhibitions open this week, to coincide with Frieze Fair.

Art collectors of Art Kabinett social media network won't want to miss twin shows by an icon of contemporary art.

With sources as diverse as comic-book characters and figures from antiquity, Koons continues to draw a common thread through cultural history, creating works that attempt to touch the core of the human psyche.

Antiquity Paintings

The Antiquity paintings (2009–13), as shown here and exhibited at Gagosian, pulse with complex layerings of image, reference, and chromatic nuance as Koons explores the historical oscillation of form in painting and sculpture, the movement back and forth between two and three dimensions, that underpins so much of his own artwork.

At the center of each scene is a famous ancient or classical sculpture—so meticulously rendered in oil paint as to suggest both the third dimension and the stone out of which it is carved—symbolizing love, ardor, potency or fertility.

Two outsized Venus sculptures in mirror-polished stainless steel are the first sculptures to be completed in the Antiquity series. In one, Koons represents the much emulated classical erotic subject,

The Callipygian Venus or Venus of the round buttocks, as a gleaming turquoise monochrome. The other is an astonishing interpretation of one of the world’s earliest known sculptures, the fecund Venus of Willendorf.

Works from the series Hulk Elvis range from precision-machined bronze sculptures, inspired by inflatable toys and extruded in three dimensions from popular cartoon sources, to granite monoliths. Hulk (Wheelbarrow) and Cannonballs (Hulk) are polychromed sculptures conceived simultaneously with the Hulk Elvis paintings of 2007. A black granite sculpture standing eight feet tall, Gorilla recalls Emmanuel Frémeit’s Gorilla Carrying off a Woman (1887), which influenced King Kong. Gorilla is based on a toy model that Koons purchased from a souvenir-vending machine at the Los Angeles Zoo.

Celebration Series

The Celebration Series, held at Zwirner, began twenty years ago. It was inspired by an enduring fascination with childhood experiences and childlike consciousness.

In dialogue with this body of work are three new sculptures Balloon Swan (Blue), Balloon Rabbit (Yellow), and Balloon Monkey (Red), for which children’s party favors are reconceived as mesmerizing monumental forms. With their impressive scale, fluid lines, and immaculate, mirror-like surfaces, they achieve a perfect tension between representation and abstraction.

A major retrospective of Koons' work is being organized by Scott Rothkopf, Curator of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Opening in January 2014 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, it then goes to the Whitney in June, and travels to Centre Georges Pompidou in December, with possible additional venues in Europe.

This will be the first ever one-person show to occupy all five floors of the Whitney. It will mark the final exhibition at the Marcel Breuer-designed building on Madison Avenue, before the Whitney moves into its new building in downtown Manhattan, near Chelsea and the High Line.

"Jeff Koons: New Paintings and Sculpture” opens May 9, through June 29 at Gagosian Gallery, New York (West 24th Street).

"Celebrations", the world debut of a new series of sculptures at David Zwirner West 19th Street spaces.