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This retrospective is designed to take stock of an unquestionably great body of work, now inseparable from the man who created it.
Everything started in 1987 when the Centre Pompidou organized an exhibition called Les Courtiers du Désir ("The Courtiers of Desire") featuring five artists, including a young man of 32: Jeff Koons.
In 2000, the museum invited for a new exhibition, this time a mature man of 45, still enchanted to take part: Jeff Koons.
Today, the museum is devoting a retrospective to a worldwide artist of 58: Jeff Koons. In between 1987 and today, the creator of the famous stainless steel balloon has become one of the most famous and controversial artists in the contemporary art scene. He is one of those who attracts so much biting criticism that you wonder whether it is actually the work that is being judged, or the mythology of a man who has become a figure.
This retrospective is designed to take stock of an unquestionably great body of work, now inseparable from the man who created it. Because the work of Jeff Koons is undeniably an American story, an American dream.
From his first deliberately childish objects to the archetypal polychrome steel figures standing proudly in public institutions and the private foundations of the great and the good; the work of Koons has constantly defied good judgement and taste, stimulating desire in a quest to assert its iconic and symbolic value.
This first retrospective in Europe was essential for a decision on the actual evidence. Visitors will thus see that the artist, all through his obsessional work, has constantly called on artisans and manufacturers to produce pieces of increasing technical ambition. From the early assemblages seeking to synthesise Pop and Minimalism to the plaster moulds embellished with decorations for parks and gardens, Koons has sought to establish his approach through a succession of series with subjects that speak to everybody, in an attempt to reconcile modern art and popular culture in a celebration of finally-reunited opposites.
Several decades have passed. America has been shattered, and Jeff Koons seems to have maintained an incurable optimism. Integrity and authenticity, self-acceptance and dialogue, confidence and responsibility are certainly present in Jeff Koons's practice of Dale Carnegie's method "How to Win Friends and Influence People".