Jeff Koons "Gazing Ball Paintings" @ Gagosian Gallery In New York

Jeff Koons’ newest exhibition Gazing Ball Paintings opened Thursday at Gagosian in New York. The exhibit presents Koons’ newest series of paintings entitled Gazing Ball, for which he recreated art historical paintings and inserted a glass-blown blue ball on a small shelve onto each canvas.  The selection of paintings represents Koons’ personal favorites, which he aims to make stronger by creating a dialogue between the viewer, the work and the space through the reflection on its surface. The blue balls hover in front of masterpieces such as Édouard Manet’s The Luncheon on the Grass, Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss, and Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, which the artist purposefully did not copy one for one but are there to create the idea of a painting. The flat paintings achieved to confuse some viewers about their authenticity, spark indignation, and the presumption that these paintings needed improvement outraged others. The reflection is reminiscent of a fun-house mirror, and according to the press release, creates a metaphysical occurrence, which connects the viewer to a family of cultural history in real time. Koons seems to have a preference for sexually charged scenes, epitomizing the male gaze even further, by the often unfortunate positions of the balls and their reflections. One disturbing example is Gustave Courbert’s Le Sommeil where the gazing ball is placed right between the legs of one of the figures.  Overall, the exhibit was in line with Koons child-like mentality and left the viewers curious and apprehensive of what can be expected of the artist in the future. Jeff Koons "Gazing Ball Paintings" will be on view until December 23, 2015 at Gagosian Gallery, 522 West 21st Street, New York. photographs and text by Adriana Pauly