The Artist Rooms: Jeff Koons exhibition displays the artist's conceptualism, but is at odds with the age of austerity (3 stars)

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The Artist Rooms: Jeff Koons exhibition displays the artist's conceptualism, but is at odds with the age of austerity

Stockbroker-turned-mass-media-manipulator Koons has always been a contentious figure in the apolitically voyeuristic world of pop art. A Brooks Brothers outfitted amalgam of Warhol and Duchamps, Koons is only ever as interesting as the times he lives in. A time of economic decline is not really the best time to appreciate his more decadent indulgences.

The lithograph ‘Made in Heaven’ of La Cicciolina and Koons in a romantic clinch is at the centre of this exhibition. It’s a work that has, at least, stood the test of time. That cannot be said of the garish publicity photo of him standing before a blackboard bearing the message ‘Exploit the masses, Banality as saviour.’ The blood boils.

In the annexing rooms the Easyfun series of animal mirrors and the polychromed wood sculptures of bears have a kitsch appeal. The best works here represent Koons’ youth and maturity as a conceptualist. The 1980s installation ‘New Hoover Convertibles …’ has a bold simplicity and 2003’s ‘Caterpillar Chains’ brings a quite inspired kind of artistic physics to bear on a large inflatable toy.

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, until Sun 3 Jun.

Artist Rooms: Jeff Koons

  • 3 stars

A major grouping of Koons' significant pieces in the Artist Rooms collection, including 'New Hoover Convertibles' and 1988's 'Winter Bears', pieces which typify Koons' preoccupation with the aesthetics of consumerism and taste.

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