Sexual And Seductive: The Art Of Jeff Koons, Reviewed

Jeff Koons: Now, Newport Street Gallery ★★★☆☆

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 27 months ago
Sexual And Seductive: The Art Of Jeff Koons, Reviewed Jeff Koons: Now, Newport Street Gallery 3
The three suspended basketballs is one of Jeff Koons's most recognisable works. Copyright Jeff Koons.

Jeff Koons is all about attention grabbing artworks that focus on consumerism and reproduction. That’s why it’s easy to think of him as a modern day Andy Warhol.

It also makes him the perfect fit for Damien Hirst’s Newport street gallery — the two may explore different themes but they're both artists who have sold works for millions, and divide opinion.

In this show Koons gives us vacuum cleaners and floor polishers that have never been used. It’s an act of glorifying everyday consumer items, much like we see in advertising today.

There is an exploration of materials, as swimming pool toys appear to be made out of vinyl but are actually metal. It’s an impressive reproduction which fools the eye completely.

Similarly, his three basketballs suspended in a vitrine are precisely positioned so that movement outside the glass case can affect their rotation.

This precision in Koons’s work is a nod to the exacting detail used by manufacturers in product design.

We also see Koons in a sexually explicit pose with his then wife, porn star Ilona Staller. Exploring sexuality is a well trodden path for the Old Masters such as Titian, but is recreated here for a modern audience.

It’s what Koons does best — he takes ideas that already exist and gives them a glossy and accessible feel. It’s why he’s so popular and also reviled by some — much like Hirst himself.

This is a much more fitting exhibition for this gallery than its debut show of John Hoyland's work. It’s an exhibition that will be popular as it’s accessible and Instagram friendly, even if it doesn’t have anything new to say.

This giant lump of Play-Doh is actually made out of aluminium. Copyright Jeff Koons

Jeff Koons: Now is on at Newport Street Gallery, Newport Street, SE11 6AJ until 16 October. Entrance is free. To mark the opening of the new exhibition, Newport Street Gallery will launch its new ‘Summer Lates’ opening hours, which will see the gallery remaining open until 10pm every Saturday.

For more art, see our most talked about exhibitions.

Last Updated 25 May 2016