Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery has opened its latest exhibition, Jeff Koons: Now, by Hirst’s pal Jeff Koons. The exhibition has been co-curated by the two heavyweight artists, and the trove of pop art goodies on display are from Hirst’s own private collection of Koon’s work; and since Koon’s hasn’t had a major retrospective in the UK since 1994, this show has been hotly anticipated.
Hirst has been collecting Koon’s work for the last 12 years and over those years has amassed a great diversity; from Koon’s infamous Made in Heaven series with ex-wife IIona Staller, to an enormous mound of molding clay, Play Doh, that Koons has spent the last 20 years shaping, to basketballs in a fish tank (Three Ball 50/50 Tank), of which Koons says “…the basketball is like the womb. It’s another ultimate state of being, but unlike ‘The New’, where this aspect is after birth, here it is the pre-birth. This is timeless, the before and after.” Hettie Judah of artnet said of the works on display, “You need to get up close and admire the perfect matte texture on the giant eggshells in Bowl with Eggs (Pink) (1994-2009), the plasticky sheen on the aluminum “inflatables” so convincing that you can almost smell vinyl. You need to share space with the Balloon Monkey (Blue) (2006-13) to notice how its shine is so high that the edges of its outline blur off into reflective space and it appears to be floating, weightless. The tin-potty cheapness of the stainless steel Italian Woman (1986) firmly imposes itself up close, as does the colour-by numbers contouring of the oil on canvas Boy with Pony (1995-2008). When the surface is the subject, it helps if you can actually see the surface.”
Jeff Koons: Now is on view at Newport Street Gallery, London from 18 May til 16 October.