Jeff Koons – The people’s artist
In a unique collaboration, Jeff Koons, one of the most influential artists of our time, creates a mass art takeover at H&M.
Head down to New York’s Fifth Avenue this July and you’ll be greeted by an unexpected vision. Dominating H&M’s brand new flagship is an unmissable window installation featuring a cartoonish yellow balloon dog. Those in the know will recognise it as one of the 20th century’s most iconic artworks – Jeff Koons’ ‘Balloon Dog In Yellow’. To others, it’s no less delightful, a visual spectacle to catch the eye of the most casual of passers-by. This is the effect of the artist known as the ‘King Of Kitsch’, whose playful sculptures have brought art to the masses. From 40-foot-high dogs made out of real flowers to ‘inflatable’ metal toys, Koons’ art touches our inner kidult, while nailing the zeitgeist. Look beyond the childlike pop façade and you’ll discover a serious commentary on modern life, questioning our obsession with consumerism, celebrity, money, taste and beauty.
“Jeff Koons has an amazing talent to captivate everybody through his art,” says H&M’s creative director Donald Schneider, who initiated this unique collaboration with the artist. “His work is overwhelmingly beautiful, so children love it as well as adults of all ages. But at the same time, the subversive side also fascinates art critics.” Of course, art and fashion are enjoying their own zeitgeist-defining moment, so what better way to reflect this than with a Jeff Koons mass art takeover at H&M? To celebrate New York’s first ever Jeff Koons retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the launch of H&M’s new flagship, the ‘Balloon Dog In Yellow’ has been reproduced on exclusive billboards, buses, shopping bags and vast video screens. For the US market only, there’s even a limited edition H&M leather handbag emblazoned with the artwork. Well, if you can’t afford a $58 million dog sculpture, why not have the next best thing. It’s the ultimate art-meets-fashion statement from the ultimate post-pop artist.
FASHION LOVES ART
Never before have art and fashion been so intertwined. Museums curate sellout fashion exhibitions, artists collaborate with conceptual designers and many a fashion show has been staged as an art gallery, installation or ‘happening’. This year alone has been a bumper year for fashion-art love-ins. Chanel’s unforgettable SS14 collection of arty prints was shown on models with wonky wigs made to resemble eccentric art dealers – even the setting boasted giant pop art ‘sculptures’ of Chanel’s famous emblems. At Alexander McQueen, the most striking pieces were the gridded dresses that echo the bold geometric work of Piet Mondrian, while Prada’s collaboration with six artists to create murals for the catwalk in turn inspired painterly faces on dresses and handbags. For AW14, Raf Simons went one better, creating a joint menswear collection with Californian artist Sterling Ruby. Some of the (highly collectible) hand-painted pieces beg the question, is this art or fashion?