Today Emily, Ant and I went to have a look at the Jeff Koons Now 🐩 exhibition at the Newport Street Gallery 🎨. I have never been to the Newport Street Gallery (or actually heard of – it is tucked away on a small street behind Vauxhall) and I really didn’t know much about Jeff Koons 🐩so it was a bit of an adventure 👧👩👸.
I cycled over 🚴 and found Emily and Ant at the Gallery, and after strict instructions not to take photos in Gallery 3 📷❌, and a stern warning, DO NOT TOUCH 😡 anything, off we went.
When I think of Jeff Koon’s 🐩 work, I think of the huge ‘balloon’ dogs 🐩🎈, in bright metallic colours 💙, which are just so fun. There is something really playful about them, I love the child’s party trick toy blown up to a massive scale 🐩. There are sadly 😢 no dogs in this exhibition – but there is a ‘Balloon Monkey’ 🐒🎈 which we enjoyed, it really is very very shiny 💙. It is made out of mirror polished stainless steel with a transparent colour coating. I really like this concept, the creation of a familiar object in a material that is so far from the original 🎈.
Koons does this a lot, he plays and experiments with different materials often creating strange juxtapositions. There is a bronze cast of a life jacket Snorkel Vest 🚣, and a giant lump of Play-Doh 🍧made from aluminium, the pieces of which are held together by their own weight.
I really enjoyed the Jim Bean – J.B. Turner Train 🚂 – made from stainless steel, each part of the train has 75cl of whiskey 🍸 encased in it. The reason stainless steel has been used is because this is the only metal that will preserve the alcohol 🍸 inside indefinitely. In the same room are three basket balls 🏀🏀🏀 floating in a tank 🏄 in perfect equilibrium Three Balls 50/50 Tank. Koons consulted Nobel laureate physicist, Richard P. Feynman, about how to keep the balls exactly half submerged in the distilled water, and they are filled with a carefully mixed suspension.
And then there are the ‘inflatables’ 🚣, incredibly realistic inflatable toys that are actually made out of aluminium (I was completely fooled) but if you look closely, they are almost too perfect. NO TOUCHING – which is a shame, you really do have an urge to touch.
Gallery 3 is very explicit 🙈 and it feels a little like he is laughing at the art world. Although he says this series is all about ‘the preservation of life, the continuation of life’, these really very lurid images 🙊 feel a little out of place in the exhibition. The other works are pushing the boundaries of ‘readymades’, experimenting with metal and suspensions to create works that are not quite what they seem. But perhaps his ‘Made in Heaven’ 🌁 series are also an experiment – he has pushed the boundaries of what is acceptable as ‘art’, and has succeeded.
I really enjoyed the exhibition – they give you a good booklet to go with it 📘 – and the more I learn about Koons 👴 the more intriguing I find him.
We decided we needed a little bit of lunch 🍴 after and found ourselves in The Ragged Canteen which is a vegetarian cafe 🍆🍎🍍 just down the road in the Beaconsfield Gallery and the food was really really great – I had a chickpea omelette 🍳 with all sorts of vegetables and a ginger and beetroot brownie 🍰 to take home – and they make a good coffee ☕️.
I would definitely go and have a look at this exhibition tucked away on Newport Street – and definitely stop off for a brownie after 😃.