'Jeff Koons: A Retrospective' runs at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York through Oct 19.
Jeff Koons, one of world’s highest paid artists, has unveiled his life work in New York, a chance to understand why his art is so loved, so hated and so expensive.
The Whitney Museum has devoted its entire four-floor premises to the city’s first retrospective of a 35-year career that sent Koons, the “king of kitsch”, into the celebrity stratosphere.
Famous for his short-lived marriage to an Italian porn star and for channelling their sex life into explicit art, he is often compared to Andy Warhol and has even been lauded as a new Michelangelo. His ex-wife is Ilona Staller, a former Italian lawmaker known in the porn world as “Cicciolina”, who once offered to have sex with Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein to avert the 1990 Gulf War.
Today Koons is married to a former assistant and divides his time between a farm in Pennsylvania and New York where an army of staff help produce his giant, ultra-expensive sculptures. Last year his Balloon Dog (Orange) smashed world auction records by selling for US$58.4mil (RM186mil) – the most money for any work by a living artist and the most for a contemporary sculpture.