Exhibition: Jeff Koons

Balloon Animal Jeff Koons Pompidou

The Centre Pompidou just opened its retrospective on Jeff Koons, the contemporary artist behind Balloon Dog and the porcelain Michael Jackson and Bubbles.

I have never been a huge Koons fan, so I was hoping this exhibition would help me understand what the hype is all about.

The first part of the exhibition was unexpected for me, with appliances on fluorescent lights and inflatables on mirrors. I loved Koons's idea that objects that contain air are "very anthropomorphic". 

Toaster Jeff Koons Pompidou

Then things started getting weird. And slightly uncomfortable. Koons plays with iconic and found images to make statements about mass culture and...


...I'm not really sure. This is what the section panels told me, but I can't say that as a viewer I was totally convinced.

Pig Angels Jeff Koons Pompidou.jpg

As skeptical a visitor as I was, I was still completely enchanted by the enormous balloon statues. They totally worked for me, even if i didn't really understand why. I could have spent hours staring into the shiny reflections.

The tacky over-sized animals weren't so bad, either.

The last section was my absolute favorite. It displayed Koons's more recent work, including plaster replicas of classical sculptures with gazing balls, inspired by suburban lawn ornaments. Fabulous.

There were also balloon-like (read: sparkly!) statues inspired by classical artworks. 

While I'm not sure this exhibition turned me into a Koons supporter, it gave me a more in-depth look at this controversial artist than I've yet taken. I learned a lot about his oeuvre and the rationale it.

The great thing about Koons's work is that it is equally fun to spend time with the artworks you love as it is to critique the pieces that you hate. 

Jeff Koons: La Rétrospective at the Centre Pompidou (until April 27, 2015)

AddressPlace Georges-Pompidou, 75004 Paris  ∣  MétroRambuteau (line 11), Hôtel de Ville (lines 1 & 11) or Châtelet (lines 1, 4, 7, 11 & 14) ∣ Opening hoursWednesday to Monday from 11am to 9pm, open until 11pm on Thursday