NY's Whitney Museum celebrates Jeff Koons with retrospective

Wed Jun 25, 2014 4:47pm EDT
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By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. pop artist Jeff Koons' retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art brings his work full-circle because an exhibit at the New York landmark 40 years ago set him off on his groundbreaking career.

Koons is considered one of the world's greatest living artists. His work "Balloon Dog (Orange)" sold for a record-setting $58.4 million last year, the highest price for a living artist.

"Jeff Koons: A Retrospective," which opens on Friday and runs through Oct. 19, is his first large-scale New York museum exhibition and the first time a single artist has taken over nearly the entire Whitney Museum.

But long before Koons awed, inspired and shocked the art world with his inflatable flowers, nude images and monumental sculptures, he saw an exhibition at the Whitney in 1974 by American artist Jim Nutt that had a huge impact on him.

"I ended up moving to Chicago and studying art, going to school at the Art Institute of Chicago from seeing that exhibition," Koons, 59, said at a preview of the retrospective.

It is his wish that his works will have a similar influence on those who see it.

"I hope that this exhibition can have a dialogue with the art world, with young artists and help show the opportunities and the freedom that young artists have today to follow their own interests," he added.

With 150 works spanning more than three decades, the Whitney retrospective chronicles Koons' career, showcasing the works that made him one of the most popular, influential and controversial postwar artists.   Continued...

Artist Jeff Koons poses in front of his creation Balloon Dog (Yellow) during a press preview before the opening of his retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York June 24, 2014.  REUTERS/Lucas Jackson