Monday, May 23, 2016

Damien Hirst to Open a Jeff Koons Show at His London Museum

“Jim Beam — J.B. Turner Engine” by Jeff Koons. Works by Mr. Koons will go on display at the Newport Street Gallery in London from Wednesday to Oct. 16. Credit Jeff Koons
LONDON — In an unusual instance of one celebrity artist showing the work of another, Damien Hirst is putting on a solo exhibition of paintings and sculptures by his American contemporary Jeff Koons.
From Wednesday to Oct. 16, 36 works by Mr. Koons — all but two of them from Mr. Hirst’s collection — will go on display at the Newport Street Gallery, Mr. Hirst’s private museum in Vauxhall, South London. The exhibition space, which consists of new and renovated brick buildings, opened in October at a cost of 25 million pounds, or about $36 million.
Mr. Hirst, who also owns works by Francis Bacon, Andy Warhol and Richard Prince, among others, dedicated the gallery’s inaugural exhibition to John Hoyland, a British abstract painter who died in 2011.
The Hoyland exhibition ended on April 10. The gallery does not release attendance figures, but Hugh Allan, its senior curator, said in an emailed response to questions that visitor numbers “exceeded our expectations.”
The basketballs that Mr. Koons suspended in a half-filled tank of distilled water will be on display at the show, titled “Now.” Credit Jeff Koons
For its second show, the gallery has chosen Mr. Koons, whose last solo show in Britain was in 2009 at the Serpentine Gallery in London. Mr. Hirst “has loved Jeff’s work since first seeing it at the Saatchi Gallery” when he was a second-year art student, Mr. Allan said. “Damien described how the energy of the work blew him away.” (The exhibition in question was the 1987-88 group show “New York Art Now.”)
The Koons show at the Newport Street Gallery (“Now”) spans three and a half decades of the artist’s career. The oldest work is an inflatable-flower sculpture from 1979. Next to it are major pieces from the 1980s, such as the Hoover vacuum cleaners and shampoo polishers that Mr. Koons displayed as “ready made” art, and the basketballs that he suspended in a half-filled tank of distilled water.
Two monumental sculptures gleam in the skylit galleries: the inflatable stainless-steel “Balloon Monkey (Blue)” (2006-13) and “Play-Doh” (1994-2014), giant multicolored aluminum clumps of clay.
Mr. Hirst also shows pornographic images from the “Made in Heaven” series that Mr. Koons produced with his wife at the time, Ilona Staller, in the early 1990s. Two explicit canvases hang in a room, with a colossal sculpture of a bowl of eggs placed in the middle.
One gallery is filled with steel sculptures replicating inflatable toys, including a lobster doing a handstand (“Acrobat,” 2003-9) that was on display at the Serpentine Gallery show.

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