Newport Street Gallery is currently presenting ‘Now’, a solo exhibition of work by American artist Jeff Koons, which runs until 16th October 2016.
Jeff Koons needs no introduction as he is widely considered to be one of the most significant artists to have emerged in the postwar era. For over thirty years, his work has explored themes of taste, consumerism, mass culture, beauty, and the role of the artist.
‘Now’ is the first major UK exhibition to be devoted to the artist since ‘Jeff Koons: Popeye Series’, at the Serpentine Gallery in 2009. Spanning thirty-five years of the artist’s career, ‘Now’ features over thirty paintings, works on paper and sculptures dating from 1979 to 2014. Drawn from Damien Hirst’s collection, a number of these works have never before been shown in the UK.
The gallery continues:
“Having begun his career focusing on the status of the object, ‘Now’ demonstrates how Koons quickly embarked on his lifelong investigation into the means by which objects are represented and communicated. With his sculptures cast in stainless steel, he returned to the inflatable; seductively replicating pre-existing objects in the gleaming, simulated opulence of the proletarian material.
Employing cutting-edge technology, seemingly fragile, air-filled vinyl blow-ups and balloon animals are reproduced in stainless steel, sometimes rendered on the monumental scale of Balloon Monkey (Blue) (2006–2013), here exhibited in Newport Street’s double- height gallery. The reflective surfaces of these sculptures serve to “constantly remind viewers of their existence”, as Koons maintains, “it’s all about you”.”
￼￼￼Hirst first saw Koons’s work – which he has been collecting for twelve years – in the 1987–1988 group exhibition ‘New York Art Now’, presented at the Saatchi Gallery during Hirst’s second year at Goldsmiths college.
Newport Street Gallery opened in Vauxhall, south London, in October 2015.
￼Spanning five buildings, the gallery presents solo or group exhibitions of work drawn from Damien Hirst’s extensive art collection, which he has been building since the late 1980s. Hirst’s interest in curating dates back to the beginning of his artistic career and his organisation of the groundbreaking ‘Freeze’ exhibition in south London in 1988. On the opening of the gallery, Hirst said: “I’ve always loved art and art deserves to be shown in great spaces, so I’ve always dreamed of having my own gallery where I can exhibit work by the artists I love. I believe art should be experienced by as many people as possible and I’ve felt guilty owning work that is stored away in boxes where no one can see it, so having a space where I can put on shows from the collection is a dream come true.”
￼￼￼￼Images courtesy Newport Street Gallery