Jeff Koons: A Roadcar Named Desire

People Culture

He’s probably the world’s most successful living artist (using dollars as a measure) and he’s got a major retrospective circling the globe that has just landed in the Guggenheim, Bilbao.

Back in the early 1980s Jeff Koons was working on a series entitled ‘The New’ that includes this lithograph of a Toyota Camry worked up in the style of an advertising billboard.

From any other contemporary artist, such a work would surely be seen as a critique or even satire of the commercial image, highlighting the gulf between lowly ads and high art. But for Koons, an ex wall street trader, there is nothing sinister or wrong with consumerism.

He sees the shiny new product as an objectification of desire – and for him desire is not just good, but almost revelatory – it is the road to self knowledge.

The Toyota Camry four door V10 had just launched in the US in 1983 when Koons created this lithograph. It was the shiniest, newest family car around. The virgin object immortalised in an image, there to remind us of our own mortality and to instil in us that life affirming desire.

If you don’t want to schlep over to Northern Spain to get a dose of this artist and evangelist, then head for Norwich Castle before September.

You heard right! In an incredible coup for East Anglia, the full Jeff Koons 2015 exhibition schedule reads:

New York –Albright-Knox Gallery, Bilbao- Guggenheim Museum and Norwich Castle Museum and Gallery.


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