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Jeff Koons (b. 1955)
DISRUPTION: A GENERATION OF PICTURES
Jeff Koons (b. 1955)

Find a Quiet Table

Details
Jeff Koons (b. 1955)
Find a Quiet Table
oil inks on canvas
69 x 48 in. (175.3 x 121.9 cm.)
Executed in 1986. This work is number one from an edition of two plus one artist's proof.
Provenance
International With Monument Gallery, New York
Private collection, Switzerland, 1986
Anon. sale; Christie's, London, 30 June 2008, lot 50
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner
Literature
J. Koons, “Project.” ART News File, May 1986,. p. 118 (illustrated).
R. Smith, 'Rituals of Consumption,' Art in America, New York, 1988, p.169 (another example illustrated).
J. Koons and R. Rosenblum, The Jeff Koons Handbook, London, 1992, p. 156.
A. Muthesius, Jeff Koons, Cologne, 1992, p. 85, pl. 23 (another example illustrated).
H. W. Holzwarth, Jeff Koons, Cologne, 2008, p. 203 (another example illustrated).
T. Vischer, Jeff Koons, exh. cat., Fondation Beyeler, Berlin, 2012, p. 21 (another example illustrated).
Exhibited
New York, International With Monument Gallery and Los Angeles, Daniel Weinberg Gallery, Luxury and Degradation, 1986.
Kyoto, The National Museum of Modern Art, Images in Transition: Photographic Representation in the Eighties, 1990 (another example exhibited).
Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Jeff Koons: Die Bilder/Pictures 1980-2002, September-November 2002, p. 51 (another example exhibited and illustrated).
Shiga, Japan, Museum of Modern Art, Citation and Reproduction, 2004 (another example exhibited).
Delaware Art Museum, Exposed! Revealing Sources in Contemporary Art, August-October 2009.

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Lot Essay

“[I] found all these liquor ads that were targeted to drinking audiences at different income levels: at like a $10,000 income level, which is the lowest level, targeting people for beer and cheap liquor, up to the highest, at $45,000 and up, targeting people for Frangelico. So I had these images made into paintings. It’s very clear in these liquor advertisements that the more money you make, the more abstraction that’s laid on you. In this series, I was telling people not to give up their economic power—that this pursuit of luxury was a form of degradation and not to get debased by it but to maintain their economic power. I was really telling people to try to protect themselves from debasement.” (Koons, 2000, quoted in D. Sylvester, Interviews with American Artists, London, 2002, p. 340)

Throughout his career, Jeff Koons has repeatedly redefined the readymade and explored the margins of high art and mass culture. In 1986 he introduced a new series called Luxury and Degradation in which he called attention to the wealth of techniques marketing campaigns used to advertise alcoholic drinks and the strange economics that results in a variety of tactics being used to target specific slices of society. What Koons noticed was that the messages of ads aimed at the less affluent end of the socio-economic spectrum were significantly more overt than their counterparts intended for the upper crust, which leant toward abstract. Luxury and Degradation also includes stainless steel depictions of items associated with alcohol consumption, such as a travel bar and ice bucket, which are dazzlingly polished to match and, quite literally, allow for reflection. The artist encourages his viewers to be mindful of these advertising ploys that play on consumer vanity. He exposes the quicksand of consumerism and cautions that, in gratifying the campaigns of the advertisers, the consumer becomes complicit in an act of societal oppression. In works like Find a Quiet Table and others from this series, he encourages his audience to disentangle themselves from these stereotypes and a self-perpetuating system of social immobility and to not be lead astray by false promises of luxury.

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