Text by Vinzenz Brinkmann, Isabelle Graw, Joachim Pissarro, Matthias Ulrich, Scott Rothkopf, et al.
Jeff Koons (born 1955) is probably the most famous artist of the 1980s, and certainly one of the most notorious and controversial. In the summer of 2012, the Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung and the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt collaborated on a bold and unprecedented simultaneous overview of Koons’s sculptural and painterly oeuvre. The Liebieghaus show, titled Jeff Koons: The Sculptor, creates a dialogue between Koons’s sculptures (both world-renowned and recent works) and the nineteenth-century villa whose collection spans 5,000 years of sculpture, from Ancient Egypt to the present. The artist fell in love with the Liebieghaus after visiting the city on his way to the German company Arnold, which produced his oversize works in polished steel, such as the Balloon Flower sculptures of the 1990s. The Schirn’s exhibit, Jeff Koons: The Painter, focuses on the artist’s monumental paintings, whose motifs draw upon the most varied sources of high and popular culture, from Manet to Popeye. In recent years, following the success of his flower and balloon dogs, Koons has revisited his painting practice, declaring, “I like the sense of warmth that comes from an actual painting and that’s why I returned to making paintings.” Boasting 270 color reproductions from the breadth of the artist’s 30-year career, this publication is comprised of two volumes–one devoted to the sculptures, the other to the paintings–that together constitute a marvelous and ambitious Koons overview.