Jeff Koons, Buster Keaton, 1988. Polychromed wood, 65.75 x 50 x 26.5 in.

Jeff Koons


Beyeler Foundation

Visitors strolling through Jeff Koons’s recent exhibition at the Beyeler Foundation looked happy and comfortable. It didn’t matter our age or how serious, critically involved, or skeptical we were when we entered; once inside, we looked at Koons’s works without prejudice, contagious smiles lighting up our faces, our eyes shining with childish joy. When we left, we felt good, convinced that ours is a beautiful world. As Koons intended, we felt “perfect.” Though extensive, this show was not a retrospective. Instead, it featured 50 works from three series—“The New” (1980–87), “Banality” (1988), and “Celebration” (1994– ongoing)—that represent crucial steps in Koons’s development: a restricted but intelligent choice. Koons’s works (both sculptures and paintings) belong to popular culture, but beyond the seductive images, we perceive a deep and philosophical mindset that belongs to high culture. In “The New,” Koons presents factory-new Hoover vacuum cleaners and carpet cleaners, encased in Plexiglas and placed over fluorescent tubes. The impression is of cleanliness and value, supporting themes of integrity, innocence, and purity. …see the entire review in the print version of April’s Sculpture magazine.