Jeff Koons



Koons conceived his series Celebration in 1994 as a paean to the milestones that mark a year and the cycle of life. Fittingly, it was inspired by an invitation to design a calendar for which he created photographs that referred to holidays and other joyous events.

These images formed the basis for large-scale sculptures and paintings that the artist hoped might serve both as archetypal symbols accessible to a broad public and as a personal reminder to his abducted son that the boy was constantly on his father’s mind.

Taken as a whole, the sixteen paintings and twenty sculptures of Celebration evoke birth, love, religious observances, and procreation, whether in the form of a cracked egg, a giant heart, the paraphernalia of a birthday party, or the sexually suggestive curves and crevices of a balloon animal..

Luxury & Degradation

The works in Luxury and Degradation address the marketing and consumption of alcohol to raise questions about the relationships among advertising, class, vice, and art.

Canvases printed with oil-based inks make artworks out of liquor ads, while Koons further seduces viewers with shiny stainless-steel casts of vessels and accessories for serving alcohol. “I thought stainless steel would be a wonderful material,” he remarked. “I could polish it, and I could create a fake luxury. I never wanted real luxury, instead, I wanted proletarian luxury, something visually intoxicating, disorienting.”

If in his previous series Koons largely employed objects that had practical functions, here he points to the “degradation” of being in thrall to things primarily intended to decorate our lives and confer social status—or at least nurture fantasies of it.