Jeff Koons: celebration
Jeff Koons' spectacular October 2008 exhibition at Berlin's Neue Nationalgalerie presented the infamous series of sculptures and paintings known collectively as Celebration, a project whose fabrication has involved so much labor (both manual and computer-aided) that Koons seemed to almost vanish from the art world radar in the 1990s, when he first undertook the series. At present, Celebration's best-known work may be the 10-foot-tall, stainless-steel "Balloon Dog," typical of the outsize scale and remarkably clean sheen of Koons' sculptures, in which the sensory joys of childhood object relations are revisited and espoused. Such works wear their playroom origins on their sleeves, but their gargantuan proportions, with their attendant sense of menace, establish them firmly in the adult world as infant objects retrieved and rebuilt with adult strength. "The work tries to gain support from the confidence of the gesture," Koons says, "to be kind of in the moment, and to have confidence within the self." Inasmuch as such observations could be true of much art, Koons is unusually open about what drives his work, all the while preserving its self-sufficiency as art. This monograph documents these mammoth installations in the Neue Nationalgalerie's Upper Hall, an exhibition that without doubt constitutes a milestone in the artist's career.
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