Pace will display Jeff Koons’ Balloon Venus Hohlen Fels (Magenta) (2013-2019) at its Palm Beach gallery, marking the first time the sculpture will be exhibited publicly. On view from January 14 to 30, 2022, Balloon Venus Hohlen Fels (Magenta) is one of the largest works from the artist’s renowned Antiquity series.
Koons, among the world’s most influential living artists, is internationally heralded for sculptures and paintings uniting conceptualism and the readymade. Over the course of more than four decades, Koons has redefined Minimalism and Pop art with his boundary-pushing practice.
Often working at ambitious scales, the artist has created iconic artworks deeply engaged with popular culture, mass media, art and human history.
For his first presentation with Pace since joining the gallery in 2021, Koons will show Balloon Venus Hohlen Fels (Magenta), a mirror-polished stainless-steel sculpture that references the ancient mammoth ivory Venus of Hohlen Fels statuette, dated between 40,000 and 35,000 years ago, uncovered in a cave near Schelklingen, Germany in 2008. Balloon Venus Hohlen Fels is part of Koons’s Antiquity series, a body of work that includes four sculptures inspired by Paleolithic sculptures of Venuses.
In Koons’s Balloon Venus sculptures, the artist utilizes his quintessential balloon formations to represent female bodies and cultivate a dialogue between contemporary aesthetics and early examples of human ingenuity. As with other bodies of work by Koons, the Antiquity series forges connections across geographical and temporal boundaries.
“You have a surface that very much is about the moment, and you view it, and it affirms you, and when you move, the abstraction changes,” Koons has said of Balloon Venus Hohlen Fels. “At the same time, it draws you back around 35,000 years ago.”
Koons’s solo exhibitions at the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence and the Qatar Museums in Doha will run concurrently with his presentation with Pace in Palm Beach. In June 2022, the artist will open a presentation at the DESTE Foundation Project Space in Hydra, Greece.
In 2023, Koons will present a solo exhibition of new work at Pace’s New York gallery.
About the artist
Jeff Koons (b. 1955, York, Pennsylvania) exhibited a passion for art at an early age. When he was nine, his father Henry, an interior designer, placed Old Master paintings that Koons had copied in the window of his furniture store to promote his son’s artwork.
Koons went to Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and through a student mobility program studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago under Ed Paschke, whose technicolor renderings of superheroes and other pop icons were an early source of inspiration. Koons received a BFA from Maryland Institute of College of Art in 1976.
After moving to New York City in the beginning of 1977, Koons’s first job was at the Museum of Modern Art, where he worked several years until he began working as a Wall Street commodities broker to support his studio practice.
His first major works invoked commodity fetishism: titled The New, they comprised vacuum cleaners displayed on or in Plexiglas boxes over grids of fluorescent light. Exhibited for the first time in the window of the New Museum in New York in 1980, they were glossy reliquaries of American consumer culture that cemented Koons’s reputation as a rigorously conceptual artist.
In 1983, Koons began the Equilibrium series, suspending basketballs in aquarium tanks filled with water. Working with Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman, he devised a precise mixture of water and salt that would make the balls float in the middle of the tanks, as if suspended. Koons’s interest in buoyancy was always within his inflatables, which would soon vault him to stratospheric fame: taking air-filled vinyl toys and casting them in polished stainless steel, he once again transformed a cheaply manufactured commodity into a precious object, capable of reflecting a viewer’s desiring gaze.
Over time, these sculptures grew in scale, from the modestly-sized Rabbit (1986) to the monumental Balloon Dog (1994–2000). In 2007, Rabbit floated more than 50 feet over New York’s Fifth Avenue, reimagined as a gigantic helium-filled balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
About Pace Gallery
Pace is a leading international art gallery representing some of the most influential contemporary artists and estates from the past century, holding decades-long relationships with Alexander Calder, Jean Dubuffet, Barbara Hepworth, Agnes Martin, Louise Nevelson, and Mark Rothko.
Pace enjoys a unique U.S. heritage spanning East and West coasts through its early support of artists central to the Abstract Expressionist and Light and Space movements.
Since its founding by Arne Glimcher in 1960, Pace has developed a distinguished legacy as an artist-first gallery that mounts seminal historical and contemporary exhibitions. Under the current leadership of President and CEO Marc Glimcher, Pace continues to support its artists and share their visionary work with audiences worldwide by remaining at the forefront of innovation.
Now in its seventh decade, the gallery advances its mission through a robust global program—comprising exhibitions, artist projects, public installations, institutional collaborations, performances, and interdisciplinary projects. Pace has a legacy in art bookmaking and has published over five hundred titles in close collaboration with artists, with a focus on original scholarship and on introducing new voices to the art historical canon.