Art Prints For Sale
Divisive and controversial, Jeff Koons is quite simply a giant of the contemporary art scene. An artist blessed with the confidence and intelligence to do exactly as he sees fit, and consistently produce work that’s urgent, banal, contemporary, and often shocking.
Artworks for Sale
A onetime Wall Street commodities trader, Koons knows how to sell both himself and his work, having taken a profound interest in what a contemporary artist needs to do to become successful. And his work sells like few other artists; his Balloon Dog (Orange), 1994-2000 retains the mantle of the world’s most expensive artwork ever to be sold by a living artist at $58 million. Although it may appear superficial and empty, Balloon Dog (Orange) is cast in stainless steel and takes into account the smallest fold of the original balloon. Taking over three years to produce, the work blurs the lines between art and entertainment, and in the end makes something extraordinary that questions the very notion of good taste. His limited edition artworks are extremely collectable, and with so many Jeff Koons works for sale online, finding out information about the works and about prices can be tricky. We take a closer look at some of his best online work and navigate our way through the artist who has the genius to turn banality into high art.
Artworks for Sale
His Life’s Work
The artist has had an an extraordinary private life that has all the swoops, blemishes and intrigues of a celebrity rock star. He first started out working on the reception desk of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, selling membership subscriptions. By now living in Manhattan, he was involved in the New Wave and Punk scene and hung out with older artists like Julian Schnabel. It was around this time that Koons began making a name for himself making inflatable sculptures. His career was already well and truly on the up when he made the highly controversial series Made in Heaven, 1990 a series of vast photographs featuring him and his future wife Ilona Staller, a famous Italian porn star. The work undoubtedly put Koons on the map, but critics were united in their scorn for the work, as the graphic images of the couple in the act of love making flagrantly ignored notions of decency and good taste.
In Untitled (Girl with Dolphin and Monkey), 2006, Koons reveals his ability to elevate kitsch objects to the status of high art. This slick print depicts a scantily-dressed woman playing provocatively with inflatable toy animals, in the setting of what appears to be an out-of-date motel room. Probably referring to the Aesop’s Fable, in which a bragging Monkey is left to drown by a Dolphin, the scene is one of sexualized bravado—with the silk of her girl’s underwear clashing with the glistening water effect on the Dolphin’s plastic flesh. It is a scene of debauchery, innocence and consumerism. No one else in the world could pull off this mixture of sexuality and weirdness. Koons has always been intrigued by blow up toys since owning a Styrofoam swimming aid as a child: “it was like a life-saving tank. It gave me a great sense of independence. Pool toys are inflatable, just like people. Inflatables really are metaphors for the continuation of life.”
Critic of Consumerism
Brash, celebratory, optimistic yet wholly unsettling, Jeff Koons gives us a spoonful of sugar, then another and another, until it is too unbearably sweet to stomach. In the print Baccarat Bar Set, from 1986, he reveals his trademark style of painstakingly recreating artefacts in unlikely materials. Robbed of its crystal sparkle the Baccarat Bar Set is remade in stainless steel, oozing oily grandeur, it is desirable but at the same time faintly nauseating. The print epitomizes 1980s Reagan era America in all its decadent swagger. By changing the material, Koons removes the transparency of the crystal drinking vessels usually found in high-level boardrooms. As is so often the case with Koons, the artwork’s apparent superficiality is offset by its blunt straightforwardness. By meticulously remaking the transparent crystal into a reflective consumer item, Koons is urging us to scrutinize ourselves. The meticulous casting of objects in such a way becomes both a sophisticated critique and celebration of consumerism.
Making use of the language and materials of advertising and entertainment, Koons ridicules the barriers that exist between high- and low-art. The four color lithographs Art Magazine Ads (Flashart, Art in America, Artforum, Arts), 1988-89 were originally made to promote an exhibition of his work in prominent Art Magazines from the 1980s, and were a brilliant ploy to pre-empt any negative criticism. Challenging viewers to question high-art through the very prism of popular culture, what is most striking about these works is their disregard for irony. Each of these four lithographs could be taken from a 1980s movie poster about an affable but hopelessly lovesick young bachelor. In the classroom scene, on the blackboard beneath the “abc” come the disruptive slogans “Exploit the Masses” and “Banality as Saviour.” Indeed, Koons could be said to have done both, claiming to always “speak to the masses”, he has changed how we view art itself.
An Artist for our Times
Koons’ work has always stretched the boundaries of what could be called “art” and in doing so sensationally explores our relationship with contemporary life. Balloon Venus was originally made in collaboration with Dom Pérignon Rosé and is inspired by the Venus of Willendorf—one of the most famous statues in the history of art. When first released, the sculpture could be split in two to reveal a bottle of the famous champagne. Jeff Koons said himself recently that “I’ve always enjoyed balloon animals because they’re like us. We’re balloons. You take a breath and you inhale, it’s an optimism. You exhale, and it’s kind of a symbol of death.” The stainless steel sculpture remains one of his most collected and desired art works.
Shakespeare was always said to hold a mirror up to nature. Jeff Koons, on the other hand, holds a mirror up to reflect our time, a world dominated by the tenets of consumerism and excess. He remains one of the most thrilling artists on the planet, as joyfully unpredictable and unnerving as when he first emerged onto the scene.