WITH A MAJOR RETROSPECTIVE AT THE WHITNEY, JEFF KOONS PROVES ONCE MORE THAT VISUAL ECSTASY IS ALL THERE IS.
If there's anyone who's understood and embraced the culture of mass consumption and its significance in contemporary society, it's Jeff Koons. Since appearing on the art scene in 1980—a big year for conspicuous consumption—Koons has relentlessly challenged the meaning of what constitutes our definition of art by incorporating the commercial. Through catapulting the status of mundane figures into objets d'art (most famously, his "inflatable" rabbits, giant-sized topiary puppies and statuettes of pop icons), Koons made art approachable and available to an audience that has continually proven a thirst for glorified novelty for the past three decades. And his mediums are as varied as those of household products. From neon-dyed kitchen-scrubbers to floating basketballs in an aquarium, mirror-polished stainless steel or oil on canvas depicting scrumptious desserts and childhood anthems. Celebrating the object, taking advantage of its mainstream symbolism and representation in modern culture, Koons has perpetually defied the once limited array of aesthetics into an infinite spectrum of tastes, and has shown no shame in doing so, especially when it comes to self-promotion, forever changing the larger-than-his-work artist stereotype (his auto-portraits speak for themselves).
By all accounts, V Magazine has shared Koons' pioneering artistic take on commerce. We think it's important to walk the fine line between art and commerce, the acceptable and the vulgar, the unexpected and the controversial. It is those contrasts that we feel can only awaken senses and continually challenge current meanings and ideologies. Editorializing high art, or teasing out the artistry in mass-production, for example, each adhere to our ultimate goal: to stimulate readers with easy imagery... And perhaps to leave an aftertaste of confusion.
As we live in a time where fashion and art have never been so inextricably linked, it feels appropriate to select a few looks from our past issues and pair them with examples of Koons' artwork that brilliantly discloses the constant fruition both fields lavish upon each other, in honor of his retrospective and recent work with one of our favorite cover stars, Lady Gaga.