“It’s all about you”
Although I’ve heard this phrase being used so many times before, I feel that it definitely suits all the artwork in Jeff Koons Now exhibition at Newport street gallery.
When my friend and I rocked up to the gallery, still amazed at how calm south London was having never been there before, the first thing we were told was “DO NOT TOUCH THE ARTWORK”. Of course, both aged 20, we thought that this was pretty obvious and did not expect to have the urge to reach out and touch the work of someone who had spent years or even decades perfecting.
However we were so wrong. Immediately , we were presented with this:
I don’t think this photo really shows how large this inflatable work of art is but it was huge. Its phallic tail was especially large in comparison to the rest of it.
This was titled the Balloon Monkey. It was incredibly reflective which as Koons put it “constantly reminds viewers of their existence”. I totally agree however I also was surprised at my overwhelming urge to want to reach out and touch it to see if this was really an actual inflatable. In the guide to the gallery, they do tell you what it is made of but I will keep that as a surprise for any of you who want to visit the gallery.
The rest of the gallery was filled with sexually explicit and sensual material. I was truly surprised at how many of the pieces I actually wanted to reach out and touch just because Koons played around with different types of media that you would not usually see in art galleries. In addition, even in the guide that we were given, Koons did not give much reason as to why he created most of the artwork. As a result, I felt that he left most of the interpretation to his audience. I admired this aspect in particular because with the sexual nature of his artwork, I feel that many people may have a negative image of Koons due to the stigma attached to being expressive of one’s sexuality. Yet I loved that he took the risk.