jeff koons’ weird blue balls


Koons has always used materials that are shiny, dense, multicolored, monochrome, or clear. He’s made marble self-portraits, a porcelain Michael Jackson, a wooden Buster Keaton. He’s created basketballs floating in vitrines of distilled water; encased new vacuum cleaners lit by fluorescence in Plexiglas towers; cast statuary and everyday objects in high chromium stainless steel; fashioned painted polychrome figurative wood sculptures; cast glass sculptures of sex. All these objects come at you with an intense optical presence. Here Koons turns to an absorptive, non-shiny, non-hard material of dead-white matte plaster. Most of the sculptures are big; some are clunky. As I stared at them, each with its glitzy blue Viagra pill on top, something freakish happened. In a few cases, the plaster surfaces absorbed so much light as the orbs atop created their distorted mirrored views—of both the sculptures themselves and the world around them—that the casts snowblinded me. They receded from my visual field and disappeared. They left the weird blue balls hovering in some new no-space, like disembodied seeing-eyes or planetoids.

more from Jerry Saltz at New York Magazine here.