Hulk Elvis represents for me both Western and Eastern culture, a sense of a guardian, a protector, that at the same time is capable of bringing the house down.
Gagosian is pleased to present Jeff Koons’s new series of paintings, Hulk Elvis. These large paintings burst with energy and precision yet mystify with their complex permutations and combinations of figurative and abstract elements. Charged mixes of inflatable monkeys, geishas, birds, The Incredible Hulk, and the Liberty Bell jostle against realistically rendered landscapes, gestural paintings, steam engines and horse-drawn carriages, negative silhouettes, and underlying dot screens.
In these paintings, whose titles string together dominant compositional elements—Hulk Elvis I, Monkey Train, Geisha, Landscape (Waterfall), Girl (Dots)—the exuberance of image and texture is rendered, paradoxically, with an uncanny level of exactitude into a wealth of smooth, vivid detail. Images are manipulated and interwoven into volatile palimpsests of color and form. In these spectacular pictorial inventions—which reject any attempt by the eye to find a resting place—brightly colored silhouettes slice through multiple layers, contours of images surface rhythmically across the field of vision, and forms loom and recede in the swirling delirium of color and line.
From the outset of his controversial career, Koons turned the traditional notion of the work of art and its context inside out. Focusing on unexpected yet banal objects, from vacuum cleaners and inflatable flowers to novelty drink caddies, china figurines, and children’s toys, he eschewed typical standards of “good taste” in art, instead embracing what he perceives as conventional middle-class values in order to expose the vulnerabilities of aesthetic hierarchies and value systems. Koons’s declared strategies are to make art beautiful, to strive for objectivity, to give back the familiar, and to reflect, and thus empower, the viewer. Addressing various conceptual constructs including the new, the banal, and the heavenly, his work has evolved from its literal, deadpan beginnings into visceral manifestations that dazzle the eye and confound the senses.
Laws of Motion
Catalyzed by Laws of Motion—a group exhibition pairing artworks from the 1980s on by Jeff Koons, Cady Noland, Rosemarie Trockel, and Jeff Wall with contemporary sculptures by Josh Kline and Anicka Yi—Wyatt Allgeier discusses the convergences and divergences in these artists’ practices with an eye to the economic worlds from which they spring.
Gagosian Quarterly Fall 2019
The Fall 2019 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring a detail from Sinking (2019) by Nathaniel Mary Quinn on its cover.
Intimate Grandeur: Glenstone Museum
Paul Goldberger tracks the evolution of Mitchell and Emily Rales’s Glenstone Museum in Potomac, Maryland. Set amid 230 acres of pristine landscape and housing a world-class collection of modern and contemporary art, this graceful complex of pavilions, designed by architects Thomas Phifer and Partners, opened to the public in the fall of 2018.
Visions of the Self: Jenny Saville on Rembrandt
Jenny Saville reveals the process behind her new self-portrait, painted in response to Rembrandt’s masterpiece Self-Portrait with Two Circles.
Jeff Koons: Easyfun-Ethereal
Learn more about Jeff Koons’s Easyfun-Ethereal series in this video featuring Rebecca Sternthal, one of the organizers behind the most recent exhibition of these works in New York.
The Bigger Picture
Derek Blasberg speaks with Diane Brown, president and founder of RxArt, and with contributing artists Dan Colen, Urs Fischer, and Jeff Koons about the transformative power of visual art.