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Jeff Koons: A Retrospective

June 27–Oct 19, 2014

Jeff Koons, Tulips, 1995–98. Oil on canvas; 111 3⁄8 x 131 in. (282.9 x 332.7cm). Private collection. © Jeff Koons

Jeff Koons, Tulips, 1995–98. Oil on canvas; 111 3⁄8 × 131 in. (282.9 × 332.7cm). Private collection. © Jeff Koons

Jeff Koons is widely regarded as one of the most important, influential, popular, and controversial artists of the postwar era. Throughout his career, he has pioneered new approaches to the readymade, tested the boundaries between advanced art and mass culture, challenged the limits of industrial fabrication, and transformed the relationship of artists to the cult of celebrity and the global market. Yet despite these achievements, Koons has never been the subject of a retrospective surveying the full scope of his career. Comprising almost 150 objects dating from 1978 to the present, this exhibition will be the most comprehensive ever devoted to the artist’s groundbreaking oeuvre. By reconstituting all of his most iconic works and significant series in a chronological narrative, the retrospective will allow visitors to understand Koons’s remarkably diverse output as a multifaceted whole.

This exhibition will be the artist’s first major museum presentation in New York, and the first to fill nearly the entirety of the Whitney’s Marcel Breuer building with a single artist’s work. It will also be the final exhibition to take place there before the Museum opens its new building in the Meatpacking District in 2015. 

Jeff Koons: A Retrospective is organized by Scott Rothkopf, Nancy and Steve Crown Family Curator and Associate Director of Programs.

The exhibition travels to the Centre Pompidou, Musée national d’art moderne, Paris (November 26, 2014–April 27, 2015) and to the Guggenheim Bilbao (June 5–September 27, 2015).

Leadership support for this exhibition is provided by

The exhibition is sponsored by

Significant support is provided by Neil G. Bluhm; Steven A. and Alexandra M. Cohen Foundation, Inc.; Susan and John Hess; Cari and Michael J. Sacks; and the National Committee of the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Major support is provided by Anne Cox Chambers, Nancy C. and A. Steven Crown, Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson, Lise and Michael Evans, Anne Dias Griffin and Kenneth Griffin, Dakis Joannou, Allison and Warren Kanders, Amy and John Phelan, Brett and Daniel Sundheim, and David Zwirner Gallery.

Generous support is provided by The Broad Art Foundation; Melva Bucksbaum and Raymond Learsy; Wendy Fisher; Mr. and Mrs. J. Tomilson Hill; Antonio Homem, Sonnabend Gallery; Miyoung Lee and Neil Simpkins; Liz and Eric Lefkofsky; Linda and Harry Macklowe; the Mugrabi Collection; Brooke and Daniel Neidich; Almine Rech Gallery; David Teiger; and Fern and Lenard Tessler.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Opening Dinner sponsored by

Works from the Retrospective
Select a series

Jeff Koons, Inflatable Flowers (Short Pink, Tall Purple), 1979. Vinyl, mirrors, and acrylic; 16 x 25 x 18 in. (40.6 x 63.5 x 45.7 cm). Collection of Norman and Norah Stone. © Jeff Koons
Inflatables and Pre-New
1978–79, 1979–80
Jeff Koons, New! New Too!, 1983. Lithograph billboard mounted on cotton; 123 x 272 in. (312.4 x 690.9 cm). Collection of the artist. ©Jeff Koons
The New
1980–87
Jeff Koons, One Ball Total Equilibrium Tank (Spalding Dr. J 241 Series), 1985. Glass, steel, sodium chloride reagent, distilled water, and basketball; 64 3/4 × 30 3/4 × 13 1/4 in. (164.5 × 78.1 × 33.7 cm). B.Z. and Michael Schwartz. ©Jeff Koons.
Equilibrium
1983–93
Jeff Koons, I Could Go For Something Gordon's, 1986. Oil inks on canvas; 45 x 86 1/2 in. (114.3 x 219.7 cm). Allison and Warren Kanders. ©Jeff Koons
Luxury and Degradation
1986
Jeff Koons, Bob Hope, 1986. Stainless steel; 17 x 5 1⁄2 x 5 1⁄2 in. (43.2 x 14 x 14 cm). Collection of Shannon Fox. ©Jeff Koons
Statuary
1986
Jeff Koons, Michael Jackson and Bubbles, 1988. Porcelain; 42 x 70 1⁄2 x 32 1⁄2 in. (106.7 x 179.1 x 82.6 cm). Private collection. © Jeff Koons
Banality
1988
Jeff Koons, Ilona on Top (Rosa Background), 1990. Oil inks on canvas; 96 x 144 in. (243.8 x 365.8 cm). Private collection. © Jeff Koons
Made in Heaven
1989–91
Jeff Koons, Cake, 1995–97. Oil on canvas; 125 3⁄8 x 116 3⁄8 in. (318.5 x 295.6 cm). Private collection. © Jeff Koons
Celebration
1994–
Jeff Koons, Kangaroo (Red), 1999. Crystal glass, mirrored glass, carbon fiber, foam, colored plastic interlayer, and stainless steel; 92 x 59 x 1 1⁄2 in. (233.7 x 149.9 x 3.8 cm). Private collection; courtesy Sonnabend Gallery, New York. © Jeff Koons
Easyfun
1999–2000
Jeff Koons, Junkyard, 2002. Oil on canvas; 102 x 138 in. (259.1 x 350.5 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; promised gift of Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner P. 2011.215. © Jeff Koons
Easyfun-Ethereal
2000–02
Jeff Koons, Seal Walrus (Trashcans), 2003. Polychromed aluminum and galvanized steel; 67 x 30 x 36 in. (170.2 x 76.2 x 91.4 cm). Collection of the artist. © Jeff Koons
Popeye
2002–
Jeff Koons, Geisha, 2007. Oil on canvas; 102 x 138 in. (259.1 x 350.5 cm). Soledad and Robert Hurst © Jeff Koons
Hulk Elvis
2005–
Jeff Koons, Pluto and Proserpina, 2010–13. Mirror-polished stainless steel with transparent color coating and live flowering plants; 129 x 65 3⁄4 x 56 5⁄8 in. (327.7 x 167 x 143.3 cm). Oceana Bal Harbour, Bal Harbour, Florida. © Jeff Koons
Antiquity
2008–
Jeff Koons, Gazing Ball (Mailbox), 2013. Plaster and glass; 74 1⁄4 x 24 3⁄8 x 41 1⁄2 in. (188.6 x 61.9 x 105.4 cm). Private collection. © Jeff Koons
Gazing Ball
2013–

Installation Photography

Installation view of Jeff Koons: A Retrospective (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, June 17-October 19, 2014). Jeff Koons, Kiepenkerl, 1987. © Jeff Koons. Photograph by Ronald Amstutz
Installation view of Jeff Koons: A Retrospective (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, June 17-October 19, 2014). Jeff Koons, Kiepenkerl, 1987. © Jeff Koons. Photograph by Ronald Amstutz
Installation view of Jeff Koons: A Retrospective (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, June 17-October 19, 2014). Jeff Koons, Gazing Ball (Belvedere Torso), 2013. © Jeff Koons. Photograph by Ronald Amstutz
Installation view of Jeff Koons: A Retrospective (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, June 17-October 19, 2014). Jeff Koons, Gazing Ball (Belvedere Torso), 2013; Gazing Ball (Farnese Hercules), 2013. © Jeff Koons. Photograph by Ronald Amstutz
Installation view of Jeff Koons: A Retrospective (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, June 27–October 19, 2014). © Jeff Koons. Photograph by Ronald Amstutz
Installation view of Jeff Koons: A Retrospective (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, June 27-October 19, 2014). © Jeff Koons. Photograph by Ronald Amstutz
Installation view of Jeff Koons: A Retrospective (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, June 27-October 19, 2014). Jeff Koons: Inflatable Flowers (Four Tall Purple with Plastic Figures). © Jeff Koons. Photograph by Ronald Amstutz
Installation view of Jeff Koons: A Retrospective (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, June 27-October 19, 2014). © Jeff Koons. Photograph by Ronald Amstutz
Installation view of Jeff Koons: A Retrospective (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, June 27-October 19, 2014). © Jeff Koons. Photograph by Ronald Amstutz
Installation view of Jeff Koons: A Retrospective (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, June 27-October 19, 2014). From left to right: Jeff Koons, One Ball Total Equilibrium Tank (Spalding Dr. J 241 Series), 1985; Snorkel (Shotgun), 1985. ©Jeff Koons. Photograph by Ronald Amstutz
Installation view of Jeff Koons: A Retrospective (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, June 27-October 19, 2014). From left to right: Jeff Koons, Moses, 1985; One Ball Total Equilibrium Tank (Spalding Dr. J 241 Series), 1985; The Dynasty on 34th Street, 1985. © Jeff Koons. Photograph by Ronald Amstutz
Installation view of Jeff Koons: A Retrospective (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, June 17-October 19, 2014). From left to right: Jeff Koons, New Hoover Convertibles Green, Red, Brown, New Shelton Wet/Dry 10 Gallon Displaced Doubledecker, 1981-1987; One Ball Total Equilibrium Tank (Spalding Dr. J 241 Series), 1985; Lifeboat, 1985. © Jeff Koons. Photograph by Ronald Amstutz
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Related Events

Exhibition Catalogue

Examining the breadth and depth of thirty-five years of work by Jeff Koons (b. 1955), one of the most influential and controversial artists of the 20th century, this highly anticipated volume features all of his most famous pieces. Also included are preparatory sketches and plans for sculptures and paintings as well as installation photographs that shed light on Koons’s artistic process and trace the development of his work throughout his landmark career.

The excerpt available here features an introductory essay by curator Scott Rothkopf. Additional contributors to the catalogue are: Antonio Damasio, Jeffrey Deitch, Isabelle Graw, Achim Hochdörfer, Michelle Kuo, Rachel Kushner, Pamela M. Lee, and Alexander Nagel.

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Jeff Koons: A Retrospective
Exhibition catalogue
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Jeff Koons Service Plate: Play-Doh
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Jeff Koons Platter: Ushering in Banality
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