January 27, 2005 - Helsinki City Art Museum - Jeff Koons
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January 27, 2005

Jeff Koons

Jeff Koons
Retrospective​
28.1. – 10.4.2005

Helsinki City Art Museum
Art Museum Tennis Palace
Tennis Palace, 2nd Floor
Salomonkatu 15
00100 Helsinki
Finland

www.taidemuseo.fi

The highlight of the year at Art Museum Tennis Palace is the retrospective exhibition of Jeff Koons, the American artist turning 50 in January 2005. The show comprises 42 works from 1979-2004. Koons’ adorably funny production consists of large-scale paintings, posters, sculptures in aluminium and steel, as well as ready-mades.

Jeff Koons is one of the most controversial artists of our time. Wherever the artist goes, he is pursued by a media storm. Ever since the mid-1980s, his personality and production have occasioned heated debates about commercialism in art and the meaning of art to the masses. Koons’ works fetch enormous prices which currently ranks him among the ten most expensive contemporary artists in the world.

One of the basic themes in Jeff Koons’ art is the world of consumerism, advertising and the media. The much-criticised commercialism of art is not a moral problem for Koons, but a given that is part of the artistic profession. Koons takes his subjects from the life of the American middle class and related phenomena. He wants to show people the glitter and glamour that lies hidden in everyday objects and consumer products. According to Koons, people should not be ashamed of their way of life, but embrace their own culture and history.

Jeff Koons’ art is often associated with Pop Art and kitsch. His works recurrently raise the question about the boundary between good and bad taste. What is it that makes basketballs or vacuum cleaners art? Why does a gilded sculpture of Michael Jackson adorn the collections of a major art museum? Is a drinks advertisement art when it is hung on a museum wall? How can a collection of pans hanging from the ceiling be worth millions?

In the early 1990s, Koons outraged some American audiences with his series Made in Heaven, in which he posed as a model. As his partner he hired an Italian porn star, his future wife Ilona Staller, aka La Cicciolina. Replete with romantic love, the mood in the works softens their blatant sexuality. However, the love affair ended in divorce after only a few years.

In the past few years, Jeff Koons has returned to the themes of his older ready-mades. His latest pieces resemble his 1980s installations made of inflatable toys, but the material is now metal. In addition to sculptures, Jeff Koons now makes large paintings that are initially composed on a computer to make narrative collages.

The exhibition has been compiled by the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo. The exhibition is being sponsored by Anna magazine and supported by the US Embassy.

Helsinki City Art Museum
Art Museum Tennis Palace
Tennis Palace, 2nd Floor
Salomonkatu 15
00100 Helsinki
Finland
Additional information: Mikko Oranen, curator, tel. +358-(0)9-310 87011, +358-50-345 8537 / Kaisa Kettunen, curator of education, tel. +358-(0)9-310 87054, +358-50-354 9018 / for press material: Karri Buchert, press secretary, tel. +358-(0)9-310 87004, +358-50-304 6707.
Guided tours: Guided tours free of charge are conducted in Finnish on Wednesdays at 6 pm and on Saturdays and Sundays at 2 pm; in Swedish on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of each month at 1 pm. For tours at other times, tel. +358-(0)9-310 87003.
Opening hours: Tues-Sun 11 am to 8.30 pm, Mon closed
Admission: EUR 6/5. Children under 18 free of charge. www.taidemuseo.fi

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