Sandwiches (from the series Easyfun-Ethereal)
Oil on canvas
10 x 14 feet (304.8 x 426.7 cm).
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York,
Read and take notes:
From the Guggenheim website:
This work, along with others in Easyfun-Ethereal, is part of Koons's new brand of Pop painting, recalling in particular the advertising iconography and billboard-style painting technique present in James Rosenquist's canvases. In Sandwiches the artist refers to this predecessor by including the glistening chrome of a 1963 Chevy Impala at the upper right corner. At the same time, the collage of animated deli meats, the turkey made of ice cream, and the cartoon eye and moustache recall the free-associative imagery of Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, and René Magritte, while the background streams and splashes of milk echo Jackson Pollock's abstractions. Koons's fusion of Pop representations with Surrealist and abstract overtones creates a hybrid of fun and fantasy, yielding a body of work that depicts gravity-defying forms of dreamlike pleasure.
Neo-Pop artist Jeff Koons (American, b.1955) inspires conflicted reactions to his over-sized sculptures of banal—and sometimes shocking—objects; some consider his work art historically significant, others view him as an attention-seeker who panders to the high art world. Educated at the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Maryland, he was initially supported by his career on Wall Street. By the early 1980s, Koons was able to found a studio staffed by assistants.
He quickly cultivated a media persona by hiring image consultants and placing strategic advertisements in high class art publications. Most famous for enlarged objects such as Puppy and his huge sculptures of inflated balloons, Koons also works in series of paintings, prints, and collage, stating he attempts “to make a body of work that anybody could enjoy.”
Read, and take notes:
1. What parallels can you make between Koons' work and that of Rosenquist?
2. How is art history such an important part of his work?
3. Koons is controversial and some people find it hard to give him the title of "artist." What is your opinion? (keep in mind that the "factory" method of making art has been around for centuries & very few artists work alone)