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Jeff Koons to exhibit 17 works at Ashmolean

The exhibition will include 14 works on display for the first time in the UK

Contemporary artist Jeff Koons is set to stage a rare exhibition of his artwork at the Ashmolean Museum in spring 2019.

The exhibition will be curated by Koons himself, in collaboration with art historian Norman Rosenthal, and will include 14 works that have never been on display in the UK before.

The announcement of Koons’ exhibition comes a year after the artist visited Oxford to accept an award from the Edgar Wind Society, the University’s only art history society.

The Society’s former president, Oli Lloyd-Parry, told Cherwell: “My invitation was the first invitation to Oxford that Mr Koons had accepted and the visit forged a relationship with the University.”

“Mr Koons became fascinated by the Ashmolean Museum when my collaborator Mallica Kumbera Landus, the former Andrew W. Mellon Teaching Curator at the Ashmolean Museum, and I gave him a tour of the permanent collection.

“Mr Koons was incredibly generous with his time and relished engaging with the
diverse student body that constitutes the Edgar Wind Society.

“I am delighted that the Edgar Wind Society has been able to facilitate this rare UK museum exhibition of Mr Koons’ art.

“I cannot think of a more appropriate place to present this important exhibition than within the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archeology, the world’s oldest public museum which explores the stories of human existence across cultures and through time using its prestigious collection which ranges from objects of antiquity to contemporary art – a fitting location which really resonates with Mr Koons’ work.”

The Society awarded Koons an Honorary Membership for Outstanding Contribution to Visual Culture, which was established in 2016 by Lloyd-Parry to recognise the achievements of contemporary artists.

The Ashmolean’s director, Xa Sturgis, told The Guardian: “It is hard to think of any other artist of the last 50 years who has such a significant and influential place in how we think about what art is today.”

Koons is known for his sculptural works depicting objects from popular culture, such as balloon animals. One such Balloon Dog (Orange) was sold for $58.4 million in 2013, the highest price fetched at auction for the work of a living artist.

The exhibition will run at the Ashmolean Museum from 7th February to 9th June 2019.

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