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Rosenquist’s reflections on Jeff Koons celebrate childhood and adulthood
To sum up,
The series Luxury & Degradation (1986) features oil inks printed on canvas of advertisements for alcoholic beverages. There is a presence of leisure and sexual conquest in all of these works. Richard Prince’s work is most similar to Jeff Koons “friends” works. Richard Prince’s photographs were of photos, and in a way this was theft advertising images. Koons had permission to use the images. In the ads for alcoholic drinks, there are trite, opulent objects that can be acquired or used by drinking alcohol, such as the Jim Beam-J.B. Turner Train from 1986, which is cast in stainless steel.
Kitsch KoonsStatuary continues to use stainless steel and produces a variety of sculptures, including the Koons favourite Barococo, as well as souvenir kitsch. Bob Hope, 1986 is an example of a caricature based on the street art of New York and Paris, which features a head that’s exaggerated in size, but a body that’s dwarfed. Mermaid Trolls, 1986, and Cape Codder Trolls, 1986, can also be seen. These are both described as audaciously horrifying and shocking. Klaus Ottman interviewed Jeff Koons for the Journal of Contemporary Art in 1986. Koons was quoted as follows:
When the artist loses the control over the work, the basic plot is that art leaves the artist’s realm. The story is defined by two main ends. Louis XIV would have said that if an aristocracy/monarch was in charge of art, then it would reflect ego. Bob Hope would say that if mass art is distributed, then it would reflect mass ego. Statuary from different Western European periods is the basis of this body of work. Each work is coded differently to indicate how it represents a specific theme or idea in art. For example: Doctor’s Delight would be a symbol of art that uses sexuality; Two Kids could represent morality; Rabbit might represent fantasy; etc. Italian Woman is a representation of an artist who is pursuing beauty. Flowers are used as a way to demonstrate elegance and money’s strength. Louis XIV represents power. Trolls represent mythology.
In Banality (1988), we can see the change from porcelain to polychromed wooden. Kitsch and triviality are the concepts. In amusement park and arcade machines, stuffed animals such as teddys bears and stuffed animals are available. A mechanical arm is used to grab one. Bear and Policemen from 1988 exemplifies this rather ordinary sentiment. A British uniformed officer wearing the helmet stands next to an image of a man in a bear costume. Koons’ fascination with the commodification of objects was a precursor to a shift from an inanimate object’s focus towards living things.
Susan Cameron in an article for the Stanford Undergraduate Research Journal entitled Classical Modern Irreverence Jeff Koons’ Michael Jackson Recontextualized compares Jackson with Dionysus as seen from the East Parthenon. She also compares Praxiteles Hermes and Baby Dionysus. The King Pop is compared to the King Theatre because both are effeminates. Ms. Cameron referred to the term vulgar as the Latin word for the common person. Vulgar also means lacking distinction, aesthetics, or charm. The artist’s signature and the fact that the work is larger than life and signed by the porcelain artisan who was hired to do it, suggest the odd entertainer.
In the late ’80s Koons became more interested in the hyper-commodification of inanimate objects. In 1988, a sculpture of naked Caucasian children inspired the artist to create for five years. Naked, as Koons described it, was exhibited alongside twenty kitsch sculptures. These included snakes, John the Baptist, and other Biblical references. The male is the first person in Genesis. In fact, she was created as a parasite from a male rib. Genesis is also one of the most important Western texts that depicts women as evil. Eve represents the original heretic who lied and sinned, and her female is punished because of this. God told Eve, after Eve ate a forbidden piece of fruit, that she would have to bear children through intense pain, suffering and hardship. Despite this, the woman was still expected to accept her husbands affection and make him her master. Genesis assigns responsibility to women for their oppression. They are also heterosexual. Koons depicts in Naked two Caucasian males and females genitally bare as an inscription of heterosexuality and whiteness. Koons, who is aware of his’sentimentality’, romanticizes innocence according to mythic Europatriarchy requirements.
Ilona Sainter, also known as Ilona Koons or Ilona the Pornographic Singer and Actress, was Jeff Koons’ first wife. Cicciolina is a character that translates to Cuddles in Italian. Koons and Staller are positioned on a faux-nature set that represents the Garden of Eden. Koons plays the part of Adam, while Staller is Eve. Koons & Staller are in an embracing position in the Made in Heaven advertisement. Koons can be seen staring out to the audience. Staller’s costume is typical for her, and it is a kitsch and ingenious representation of a seductress. Staller’s signature red lipstick is worn on her wide mouth and the garland with flowers is on top of her platinum-blond hair. Ilona staller worked on her persona for years before she met Jeff Koons. Ilona was photographed in a room full of flowers and stuffed animals. Koons describes Cicciolina as a virginal, pure woman. Koons’s image is one of superiority in marriage between a man and a woman. In the photograph “Made in Heaven”, 1989, he appears as his wife and the woman in question. In these works, Koons appears to be a sexo actor while Ilona is a woman. Made in Heaven is made up of many sculptures in wood, marble, plastics and glass. Many of them show couples in a compromising position.
Jeff Koons created Puppy in 1992 after his failed marriage with Ilona, which led to the custody and abduction cases of the one child that the couple had produced. The twelve-meter works have been on display in permanent exhibitions at the Guggenheim Museum of Bilbao and Brant in Greenwich Connecticut since 2002. As the flowers overgrow and become unruly, the sculptures slowly change their form. These sculptures are seen as very cheerful public art. Especially in the Schloss Arolsen Palace of Hesse in Germany which acts as a doghouse or frame for the Puppy figure.
Childhood and Adulthood, Reflections on Jeff Koons by RosenquistPuppy is a natural continuation of Made in Heaven. The subject was inspired by the works of Koons based on Ilona’s figures. The absence of Ludwig was evidently the inspiration for these works, as well as many others that followed.
Easyfun Ethereal, a painting by Jeff Koons, was executed on large canvas using oils. Several teams of assistants were assembled to help. The Celebration series was devoted to Ludwig’s absence and featured gifts and foods associated with holidays such as birthdays and Christmas. Balloon Dog 1994-2000 is one of the most iconic sculptures in the Celebration Series. The three-meter high sculptures made of stainless steel and chromium are painted in blue, orange, yellow, and magenta transparent colours. Balloon Dog evokes childhood memories of freedom, bliss and complete happiness. The sculpture is inspired by the birthday party entertainer who twists long balloons into animals. This series could be viewed as a gift for a child to remember happy, fond times. Celebration features many oil painting of objects, some of which are precursors to sculptures.
Hanging Heart 1994-2006, for example, is a sculpture made of yellow brass and chromium steel coated with a transparent coating. It comes in five different versions. Hanging Heart is in a tight race with Balloon Dog from 1994-2000 to be considered Koons most iconic piece. Hanging Heart 1994-2006, a work by Koons that was created between 1994 and 2006, was sold to Larry Gagosian at a Sotheby’s auction for the record price for an artist still alive: 23.5 Million US dollars on 14th November 2007. Hanging Heart was inspired by the bauble of a christmas tree.
Jeff Koons’ series Easyfun-Ethereal shows that he has not given up on the topic of commodification. He has always referred to James Rosenquist as his source of inspiration, but he now departs from what could be called Rosenquist’s style. The orange juice splash echoes Koons’ theme of balance, an unattainable perfect balance in space. Koons has said that the series is a part of the spirit realm. This work can take a surreal turn. The lip-stick lips that are positioned on a mountainous background give the painting a sexual and innocent feel. The splashing orange-juice can be compared to Cut-Out (1999) from the Easyfun collection, which has an optimistic feel. Koons has made a strong comeback with these sculptures, paintings and drawings after Made In Heaven received harsh criticism. Koons’s goal is to numb the figures by using only their bathingsuits or lingerie, or even hair and hands. One might wonder what the purpose of those hands or garments is. Some critics have deemed the work as farcical because it seems devoid in meaning. Koons, however, has stated that they are intended to help the viewer feel better about himself or herself. Some say that the works portray the world of consumerism in its full sensuality, with the lack of humanity.
Koons was a master of detail, and his paintings Celebration, 1995-1998 Easyfun 1999-2000, Easyfun Ethereal 2001, were a huge undertaking. Some paintings took three years to finish. Koons also employed dozens of assistants, who worked long hours to complete the sculptures in stainless steel of enormous proportions. Koons was so meticulous in his attention to details that he coined the term Barococo. This is a combination of Baroque with Rococo. Jeff Koons uses this phrase, which was originally coined as a musicologist’s term by H.C. Robbins Landon, to describe a fusion of both genres.
ConclusionIn my own unique style, which is developing as I explore ideas of painting, I try to make use of found objects and magazine clippings. I also like to take photos of images that are perhaps not very inspiring and celebrate the simplicity of their message. I have mentioned some artists and works which have inspired me during the creation of my paintings. They are all powerful and have a similar objective.