Koons had always intrigued me, so I was really up for seeing the collection of 150 pieces gathered at The Retrospective of his work, from the 70s to present day. The opportunity presented itself during my recent trip to Paris. I wondered through the several rooms filled with giant shiny balloon animals, light-reflecting blue gazing balls resting on antique sculptures, blown-up reproductions of advertising campaigns, floating basketballs in tanks and full-on sex scenes from the Made in Heaven series. I took pictures but, somehow, my mental notebook was empty.
The last pieces you see before exiting the exhibition are part of the Gazing ball series. And, as I gazed at the balls, seeing my own reflection in them, I suddenly felt being disconnected from this art. For me, art, like books, or movies, should not just scratch the surface by simply looking nice. It should connect with my emotions on a deeper level. I discovered that I was simply gazing at the pieces and some of them, seemed to be gazing back, but in fact, I didn’t find them talking to me. An American artist known for reproduction of banal objects – that’s the first words of the entry on Jeff Koons in Wikipedia. I think the collection of so many banal objects in one place took its toll on me. I might have gone off Koons.
Do not get discouraged though and go see the exhibition, if you can, to make up your own mind. After all, his pieces sell for record breaking sums (in fact he holds a world record for a price paid for a single artwork by a living artist). The allure must be there.
Jeff Koons The retrospective is open at Centre Pompidou in Paris until April 27, 2015.