It’s a historic moment for the Whitney Museum of American Art because for the first time, the museum is almost entirely filled with work by a single artist, Jeff Koons.
Koons is one of the most controversial and influential artists in the past century. Throughout his art career, he has challenged conventional art methods by clashing art with popular culture and adding technical finesse. His unique artwork in the Whitney Museum has attracted long lines of people eagerly awaiting to see his creations and peer into the mind of a bold artist.
The most interesting series of Koons’ exhibit was the Celebration collection. In this collection, Koons made sculptures out of steel to create celebratory images. The sixteen objects of this series are meant to elicit birth, love, religious observances, and procreation. The Balloon Dog, the most popular of the sixteen, is a ten foot tall yellow statue that weighs one ton. Although adorable in appearance, it carries darker themes as Koons has often compared The Balloon Dog to the Trojan Horse that the Greeks gifted to their Trojan enemies.
Another popular series is Koons’ Banality collection. While Koons usually bases his work off ready-made sources, the Banality series was based off stuffed-animals, gift shop figurines, films, magazine images, and Leonardo da Vinci. In this collection, he made cute images into darker and scarier ones. This can especially be seen in his 1998 artwork called Michael Jackson and Bubbles.
For sports lovers, the Equilibrium collection may be the most intriguing. According to Koons, this series was meant to show the unattainable “states of being” or salvation. It was this collection that made critics begin to take his work more seriously. (In the past, many of his pop culture works were considered unmeaningful.) The Equilibrium’s best known work is of basketballs floating in tanks while remaining completely still. The tanks are filled with highly refined salt and distilled water, and the ball itself is also filled with distilled water. This creates an image of equilibrium, but it intentionally does not last forever.
The Jeff Koons’ retrospective allows visitors to see his diverse mind in the form of art. He shows that anything is possible with his out-of-the-box creations.