Jeff Koons: Now

Art, Contemporary art Free
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 (Jeff Koons: 'Bowl with Eggs (Pink)', 1994-2009. © Jeff Koons)
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Jeff Koons: 'Bowl with Eggs (Pink)', 1994-2009. © Jeff Koons
 (Jeff Koons: 'Titi', 2004-2009. © Jeff Koons)
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Jeff Koons: 'Titi', 2004-2009. © Jeff Koons
 (Jeff Koons: 'Three Ball 50-50 Tank', 1985. © Jeff Koons)
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Jeff Koons: 'Three Ball 50-50 Tank', 1985. © Jeff Koons
 (Jeff Koons: 'Jim Beam – JB Turner Engine', 1986. © Jeff Koons)
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Jeff Koons: 'Jim Beam – JB Turner Engine', 1986. © Jeff Koons
 (Exhibition view of 'Jeff Koons: Now'. © Jeff Koons. Photo: © Victor Mara Ltd)
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Exhibition view of 'Jeff Koons: Now'. © Jeff Koons. Photo: © Victor Mara Ltd
 (Exhibition view of 'Jeff Koons: Now'. © Jeff Koons. Photo: © Victor Mara Ltd)
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Exhibition view of 'Jeff Koons: Now'. © Jeff Koons. Photo: © Victor Mara Ltd
 (Exhibition view of 'Jeff Koons: Now'. © Jeff Koons. Photo: © Victor Mara Ltd)
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Exhibition view of 'Jeff Koons: Now'. © Jeff Koons. Photo: © Victor Mara Ltd
 (Exhibition view of 'Jeff Koons: Now'. © Jeff Koons. Photo: © Victor Mara Ltd)
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Exhibition view of 'Jeff Koons: Now'. © Jeff Koons. Photo: © Victor Mara Ltd

Jeff Koons is why people loathe modern art. According to the haters, the American superstar is a cynical artistic oligarch, using shock and pop culture to make his pile: he made porn-art, he ripped off comic books, he did balloon sculptures – and he’s become one of the most expensive living artists in the process.

So it’s no surprise that Damien Hirst has a massive collection of Koons originals, which he is displaying here in his fancy gallery. Hirst and Koons, a match made in hell.

But the thing is, that view of Koons as megalomaniacal art moneylord, it’s fun, but it’s wrong. Dig beneath the glitzy surface, and there’s an actual human heart in there somewhere.

This show pulls together works from throughout Koons’s career. It’s not quite a proper retrospective, but it’s near enough. It starts with his early Hoover readymades and ad paintings before moving on to the big stuff: a giant balloon monkey, some soft-focus porn, a giant bowl of eggs, basketballs suspended in water, framed Nike posters, inflatable lobsters and a huge pile of Play-Doh. It’s what you expect from Koons: big, bold, glamorous and expensive-looking.

But there’s a fear in Koons’s work, a deep insecurity. It’s like he’s trying to preserve everything for ever. He seals his readymades away, protecting them. He makes balloons and inflatables out of steel, he makes hardcore porn with his beautiful (ex-) wife, he preserves basketballs like scientific specimens.

The inflatables are childhood made permanent in steel, the porn is love and youth held for ever in the moment, the floating basketballs are a desperate grasp at fleeting athleticism.

And throughout all this, Koons has maintained an incredible eye for the iconic. These are powerful, emotional works that couldn’t have been made by anyone but him. You can disregard all of this if you want, focus on the schlock and the money, but you’d be missing out on one of the most important artists alive today. 

By: Eddy Frankel

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Diana T
Tastemaker

The Jeff Koons exhibit at the Newport Gallery is probably one of the best contemporary art exhibition in London this year.


His work has only been shown in a small exhibition in Brighton in recent years. Using bright colors and fun themes his work has always appealed to younger audiences and people who are often not art lovers. This show displays a good array of his works from some of the older sculptures to some of the iconic pieces like the blowup animals. The gallery has enough room to allow his pieces to be heard. The fun contemporary show greatly suits the space and the restaurant of the gallery. I'm excited to see what other shows they host in coming years.

Bonnie W
Tastemaker

The Jeff Koons exhibit at Newport Gallery was so impressive and intriguing. Many of the pieces appear to just be everyday items but once you read about the process and intention behind them they're really remarkable. I found the most striking pieces were the balloon animals which were actually made of highly reflective stainless steel. There is a room that appears to display precariously positioned blow up pool toys which are also made of stainless steel. Even looking really closely, they so convincingly look like every day pool toys. I left the exhibit feeling very inspired by Jeff Koons' craftsmanship and meticulous work.

elladacas
tastemaker

So it's been on my hit list for a while now and I finally saw it through the other day!

The gallery is pretty big so I think they can afford to add even more pieces in there and utilise the space better but what was there (especially top floor) was contemporary and colourful! Beware the last room on the bottom floor was pretty graphic if you get what I mean.... XXX graphic!

Marco D
tastemaker

What an innovative, creative and out of this world exhibition at the Newport Street Gallery. Jeff Koons: Now is an inspiring exhibition for all artists out there even if you don't particularly love it. It's innovative in many ways and it also made me think what you could do with the most strangest objects to create such intricate masterpieces. You can find art pieces from inflatable objects and cartoon characters, Hoover products to the massive Play-Doh that was created thinking about his son and his childhood. It was created using twenty-seven aluminium pieces that hold themselves up together. Don't expect to see rooms full of exhibits. You will be amazed to see incredible pieces that you might not like, but will appreciate the hardwork and effort put to make these intricate pieces. Such a small, but spacious gallery with one of the best artists in town. Jeff Koons never seems to amaze, it's incredible. A bonkers artist for sure. And it's completely free, so please go and have a look. #TOTastemaker Love MD.

emlyhggns
tastemaker

I've always quite enjoyed the trashy pop-culture aesthetic of Jeff Koons work, so you can imagine I was quite thrilled to first hear of this free exhibition coming to Newport Street Gallery. I'm still a little on the fence about this though: It was a well curated selection and I did enjoy many of the pieces on display. When you actually go to see art that you've only ever seen before in books or via the internet, you're generally able to see or experience it in a whole different way in real life. Honestly, I felt nothing but empty looking at most of these pieces. While you'd be surprised to discover the inflatable sculptures and big mound of play-doh are actually made of aluminium, that's kind of all there is to them. I really like Jeff Koons purely for his aesthetic, but equally can't stand what he does because it all feels pretty soulless. Don't let it put you off though, because the whole love/hate thing is absolutely a reason for you to go and check out this exhibition. I guess that's really part of his appeal.

Lise M
Tastemaker

Stunning exhibition curated by Damien Hirst where you can re-discover Jeff Koons' pop and colorful work through more than 3O astonishing and provocative pieces of art including his famous sculptures Hoover; Balloon Monkey as well drawings and paintings from Hirst's private collection. This free retrospective explores the past 35 years of Koons' career from his first works inspired by pop culture and consumer society to the most current ones inspired by Art History in general. A must see if you are near Vauxhall area and a good occasion to stop by the crazy Pharmacy 2 restaurant. 

Mei M
Tastemaker

A very enjoyable exhibition to see even for people who are not that into art. Getting to Newport Street Gallery is quite easy, I arrived via Westminster in a pleasant 20 minutes walk, plus the exhibition is free :)


I love art, especially modern/contemporary, and artworks that make me think and make my curiosity fly. Jeff Koons' work is iconic, colourful, goes straight to our inner child and makes us see everyday objects from a different perspective. What I also like is how his creations stick to your memory. Using "simple" images, the artist provokes and stimulates the viewer in a very effective way, you can't "ignore" his works, you must get closer and analise them, and I think these are art's main goals - not to be ignored, to stimulate, to be remembered.


Also, at Newport Street Gallery you can visit Pharmacy+, Damien Hirst super colourful restaurant. 


I loved everything and it was such a great thing to do on a rainy day!