The Dakis Joannou Collection Curated by Jeff Koons in New York

Jeff Koons: 'One Ball Total Equilibrium Tank', 1985, Glass, iron, water and basketball; 64 1/2 x 30 1/2 x 13 1/4 inches / 164 x 77 x 34 cm (c) photo by Premier Art Scene

Jeff Koons curated an exhibition of the Dakis Joannou Collection in the New Museum for Contemporary Art in New York.


The Greek Dakis Joannou Collection is very large. It comprises more than 1,500 works by 400 internationally renowned contemporary artists. Therefore, Mr. Koons had a big choice. Unfortunately, I could not understand the concept in it. Many pieces deal with issues about body or sexuality, others seem to be simply provocative.


In general, I think, there are too many works in this exhibition. (I would not be surprised to reencounter some of them in an auction catalogue soon...) Especially the videos by Vanessa Beecroft and Nathalie Djurberg are hard to find.


Mr. Joannou says, 'Collecting is, for me, an adventure, a set of different - lived - experiences, a constant flow of meeting, talking, listening, looking. It is an act of understanding and participating.'


It is said, that Mr. Joannou started collecting contemporary art by buying the early Koons signature work 'One Ball Total Equilibrium Tank' in 1985. Sine this time the two are close friends. (Koons recently designed even the exterior design of Mr. Joannou's yacht 'Guilty'.)


There are some excellent pieces in this show:


Charles Ray: 'Revolution Counter-Revolution' 1990/2010, Carved wooden elements, steel, fabric and mechanical elements; (115 x 164 x 164 inches / 292 x 416 x 416 cm) (c) photo by Premier Art Scene


Besides the classic Koons piece I liked the work 'Revolution - Counter-Revolution' of 1995 by Charles Ray a lot. It is a carrousel that does not turn, yet the normally fixed center part does.


Tim & Sue Noble& Webster: 'Masters of the Universe'; 1998 - 2000; translucent resin, fiberglass, plastic and human hair; 54 x 27 x 31 inces / 137 x 68 x 78 cm (c) photo by Premier Art Scene


There is also the spectacular life size sculpture 'Masters of the Universe' of 1998-2000 by Tim Noble and Sue Webster.


Takashi Murakami: 'Inochi' of 2004; Fiberglass, resin and iron; 55 1/8 x 24 5/8 x 14 3/8 inches or 140 x 62.5 x 36.5 cm (c) photo by Premier Art Scene


To my great surprise, there was also a good Murakami: The sculpture 'Inochi' of 2004. (I did not see a piece by Takashi Murakami, I liked in years...)


Pawel Althamer: 'Schedule of the Crucifix' of 2005; Oak wood, leather and metal with performance; dimensions variable (c) Photo by Premier Art Scene


There was a very provocative performance by Pawel Althamer 'Schedule for the Crucifix' of 2005. This time with a black Jesus performance actor, who came up and down a cross (handles - no nails...) to take a rest behind a folding screen.


Probably the best work was another performance by Tino Sehgal: He commissioned female singers who were dressed like museum guards singing loud 'You know, you know it is propaganda! By Tino Sehgal 2002'. (He currently has also an excellent show at the Guggenheim here in New York.)


Maurizio Cattelan: 'All' of 2007; white Carrara marble; 9 parts; 11 7/8 x 78 3/4 x 39 3/8 inches or 30 x 100 x 200 cm each) (c) photo by Premier Art Scene

In this show you can also see, how  Mr. Joannou is also competing with other International mega-collectors for signature pieces by famous artists: For instants, another edition of the sculpture/installation 'All' of 2007 by Maurizio Cattelan also was in François Pinault's opening exhibition in his Punta della Dogana Museum in Venice, Italy.


I hope it will not be the same with contemporary art, as it is already with fashion design: In every luxury brand store on this planet there are the same items - there is the same taste. That would be too boring.



by U.G.



‘Skin Fruit’ The DakisJoannou Collection at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York from 3 March - 6 June 2010

Jeff Koons: 'Ceterpillar Ladder' 2003 (c) Jeff Koons courtesy Serpentine Gallery
Punta della Dogana, Venice (c) photo by Premier Art Scene


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