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Jeff Koons Pairs Gazing Balls with Canonical Paintings He Calls “My Cultural DNA”

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Jeff Koons led a walkthrough of his new exhibition of “Gazing Ball” paintings at Gagosian’s West 21st Street gallery, where he described it as a “dialogue of humanity.” The blue gazing ball, a lawn ornament popularized by King Ludwig II during the Victorian era, and an object Koons has worked with before, have been placed in front of painted replicas of Boucher’s Reclining Girl, Manet’s Luncheon on the Grass, Picasso’s Couple and Klimt’s Kiss, among other iconic works to engage in a dialogue.

“You have Manet who is referencing Titian, Picasso back in the other room is referencing Titian, is referencing Manet. Everybody’s in this dialogue of connecting with each other,” said Koons. The concept blends the 2-D with 3-D as well as past with present, to create an experience that literally reflects the viewer. “The experience is about you, it’s about your desires, your interests, your participation, your relationship to this image,” the artist explained as he went on to state that the replicas are of some of the paintings that enriched his life. “They’re my cultural DNA.”

Gazing Ball (Manet Luncheon on the Grass)

 

The exhibition is on view through December 23.

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Kelly Wearstler

THE WINTER EXPERIENCE ISSUE
2023

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