Considered to be one of the most significant (and controversial) artists to have emerged in the postwar era, Jeff Koons has been active since the late 1970s, exploring themes relating to ‘taste, consumerism, mass culture, beauty, acceptance, the role of the artist’ – and saucy porn.
His first UK major exhibition for seven years is currently taking place at the well appointed Newport Street Gallery and it runs until 16th October 2016. Admission is free. Wohooo!
Covering his entire career, ‘Now’ features over thirty paintings, works on paper and sculptures dating from 1979 to 2014. Drawn from Hirst’s collection, a number of these works have never before been shown in the UK.
Employing cutting-edge technology, seemingly fragile, air-filled vinyl blow-ups and balloon animals are actually created in hard stainless steel, with Balloon Monkey (Blue) (2006–2013) dominating the show.
The urge to touch these shiny items is overwhelming but with a surfeit of security guards patrolling every corner, it’s best to keep your hands in your pockets.
The Gallery has two floors and six galleries of exhibition space with Pharmacy 2 – Damien Hirst’s new restaurant in collaboration with Mark Hix – occupying the middle floor.
Pleasingly, photography was allowed throughout the show apart from a room adjacent to this one which had two, large scale pornographic prints and a huge bowl of eggs (official photograph below).
The first room was full of old vacuum cleaners, advertising and various objects which didn’t really engage me much.
The wall-mounted Hoovers pieces – in which pristine, unused household appliances are displayed in fluorescent-lit, acrylic boxes – date from Koons’s time working as a Wall Street commodities broker.
The building had wonderful stairwells.
One of the many, many security guards silently padding around the exhibition.
The top floor has more of Koons’s work. The cars in the Jim Beam – J B Turner train (above) all contain 75cl of whiskey.
The gallery was pleasingly quite empty – in fact visitors were outnumbered by security guards – so there was plenty of space and time to take in the work.
Giant inflatable toys look like they could almost blow away in the wind, but they are all made from aluminium.
The mountainous Play-Doh sculpture reproduces a small lump of modelling clay made by Koons’s son in super-size.
Made from 27 individual pieces of aluminium, the sculpture is held together by itsowen weight.
Pharmacy 2 is open to visitors to the exhibitions during the day, and evening diners when the gallery is closed.
Artwork opposite the gallery.
Tuesday – Friday & Sunday – 10am – 6pm
Saturday – 10am – 10pm
Newport Street Gallery
London, SE11 6AJ
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