"Jeff Koons: A Retrospective" is both a notable first and a historic last; it marks the first New York exhibition of the world's most expensive living artist and the last show at the Whitney's Madison Avenue location. It is also the most comprehensive collection of Koons' work ever in a single exhibition.
Many of the pieces on display are on loan from owners who paid millions of dollars to obtain them. One of his three porcelain sculptures of Michael Jackson and Bubbles sold for $5.6 million in 2001, and in 2008, Balloon Flower (Magenta) sold for at auction for a then record-breaking $25.7 million. The Whitney itself purchased Diamond (Blue) for $11.8 million.
The Pennsylvania native earned the title of world's most expensive living artist in 2013 when Balloon Dog (Orange) was auctioned for $58.4 million, shattering all previous sales by a living artist, at auction or otherwise.
"It seems like an appropriate age to have a retrospective on this scale," Koons told the Daily Mail. "I was able to develop more work and execute ideas that I wanted to realize."
Although the landmark exhibition does not open until June 27, members of the media and New York's social elite have already begun tweeting out photos from private previews.
Michael Jackson and Bubbles by Jeff Koons (1988). pic.twitter.com/zur7hqcJhg— madonna is the queen (@beatlesjacksons) June 21, 2014
From "Jeff Koons: A Retrospective" at the Whitney Museum. pic.twitter.com/InG3F8oFc6— Jerry Saltz (@jerrysaltz) June 24, 2014