Jeff Koons - Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Wednesday, May 15, 2013 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Sonnabend Gallery, New York

  • Exhibited

    Los Angeles, Daniel Weinberg Gallery, Luxury and Degradation, July - August, 1986 (another example exhibited)

  • Literature

    Jeff Koons, exh. cat., Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, 1988, cat. no. 19, pp. 30-31 (illustrated)
    High & Low: Modern Art and Popular Culture, exh. cat., New York, The Museum of Modern Art, 1990, cat no. 32, p. 395 (illustrated)
    J. Koons and R. Rosenblum, The Jeff Koons Handbook, London, 1992, pp. 66-67 (illustrated)
    A. Muthesius, ed., Jeff Koons, Cologne, 1992, pl. no. 10, p.74 (illustrated)
    Jeff Koons, exh. cat., San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 1992, cat. no. 28, pl. 24 (illustrated)
    R. Rosenblum, Jeff Koons: Easyfun - Ethereal, New York, 2000, p. 34 (illustrated)
    Jasper Johns to Jeff Koons: Four Decades of Art from the Broad Collection, exh. cat., Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2001, p. 224 (illustrated)
    J. Koons, Pictures 1980-2002, exh. cat., Bielefeld, Kunsthalle Bielefeld, New York, 2002, p. 21 (illustrated)
    Jeff Koons, exh. cat., Naples, Museo Archeologico Nazionale, 2003, pp. 44-45 and p. 51 (illustrated)
    Jeff Koons: Highlights of 25 Years, exh. cat., New York, C&M Arts, 2004, pl. 15 (illustrated)
    S. Cosulich Canarutto, Jeff Koons (Supercontemporanea series), Milan, 2006, pp. 44-45 (illustrated)
    H. Werner Holzworth, ed., Jeff Koons, Hong kong: Taschen, 2009, pp. 197, 586 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    “ In ‘Luxury and Degradation’ the objects are given an artificial luxury, an artificial value, which transforms them completely, changing their function, and, to a certain extent, decriticalizing them. My surface is very much a false front for an underlying degradation.”
    JEFF KOONS, 1992

    The familiar hum of controversy that surrounds Jeff Koons was born amidst the artist’s early career during the 1980s. His contemporary work was similar to that of Richard Prince—a scathing look into modern consumerist culture, but buoyed by the Duchampian notion of elevating the mundane into the realm of art. Though it is Koons’ ability to pull back the gilded linings of marketeering in order to expose the debased center that has given us pause, his manner of technique is just as genius: highlighting
    our addictions by acquiescing to our need for more. In Jim Beam - Observation Car, 2003, Koons strikes at the heart of modern advertising by playing its own game—he
    tests our attraction to his glittering piece by tempting our craving for a nip.

    Soon after Koons completed his initial work in his Statuary series (most famous for his stainless steel Rabbit of 1986), he realized that the medium of stainless steel was akin to the plight of decadence: though not as wildly expensive as gold or silver, stainless steel served essentially the same function in its preservative and visually enticing purposes. Its aura of metallic brightness and its resistance to corrosion made it the perfect medium for Koons’ further experimentation in different forms and separate series.

    Stainless steel found its perfect employment in Koons’ Luxury and Degradation series. Always sensitive to the brilliant manipulation of the contemporary consumer market, Koons found himself drawn to the advertisements for another one of humanity’s most arduous struggles: alcohol and its abuse. But rather than focus on the colors of the substance itself or the resulting plague of alcoholism, Koons chose to focus on marketing tactics. His series focuses on breaking down the consumer into a debauched animal, accessing the most visceral appetites by appealing to the values of each separate economic class of the user. By debasing the consumer, Koons realized, the
    alcohol industry could eliminate any economic or reasoning power of its target.


Jim Beam - Observation Car

stainless steel and bourbon
10 1/4 x 16 x 6 1/2 in. (26 x 40.6 x 16.5 cm.)
This work is an artist’s proof from an edition of 3 plus 1 artist’s proof.

$1,200,000 - 1,800,000 

Sold for $1,625,000

Contact Specialist
Zach Miner
Head of Sale
[email protected]
+1 212 940 1256

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York 16 May 2013 7pm