“Everything has an opposite pole,” said Jeff Koons (b. 1955) of his Luxury and Degradation sculptures. “If you just present optimism without a darker side… there’s no definition of optimism.” The 1986 series appropriates imagery from advertisements and memorabilia for alcoholic beverages—fertile ground to stir up ideas about class, commerce and nostalgia. These highly polished objects have an aura of opulence, but are in fact made from stainless steel. “To me, the stainless steel is the material of the proletarian, it’s what pots and pans are made of. It’s very hard material and it’s fake luxury,” Koons explained.
The artist’s crowning achievement from the body of work is Jim Beam J.B. Turner Engine, a 9.5-foot-long model of a steam engine that’s loaded with bottles of whiskey. “I find it a very powerful image,” Koons said. “An image about progress, about future, about strength.” As always, Koons hovers on the edge of sincerity: his inspiration for the artwork was not an actual locomotive, but rather a kitschy decanter in the shape of one. He included an image of the Jim Beam sculpture in a set of three photolithographs named for the series. The Luxury & Degradation portfolio (1986) depicts the artist’s renditions of the steam engine, a Baccarat crystal set and a fisherman golfer figurine. Scroll down to see the works and learn more.
Above: Jeff Koons, by Andrew Burton AFP.
Jeff Koons Luxury and Degradation
photolithograph (portfolio of three prints)
32 x 24 in. each
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You could win a work of art by Manuel Amorim (b. 1950)! Enter our free raffle for a chance to add his woodcut Nuit Mauve to your collection. Fragmented and existential, the Lisbon-born artist’s work centers on shadowy silhouettes moving solo through the universe.
Lovers of beautiful books, rejoice! Zane Bennett Contemporary Art is now an official seller of TASCHEN Books, the revolutionary German imprint that deserves its own art museum. TASCHEN has collaborated with the likes of David Hockney, Christo & Jeanne-Claude and Beatriz Milhazes to produce limited edition books that are true works of art. We’re particularly excited about their new title Murals of Tibet, an epic chronicle of some of the greatest treasures of Buddhist culture and Tibetan heritage.
For more than a decade, photographer Thomas Laird traveled the length, breadth, and far-flung corners of Tibet’s plateau to capture the land’s spectacular Buddhist murals. Deploying new multi-image digital photography, Laird compiled the world’s first archive of these artworks, some walls as wide as 10 meters, in life-size resolution. In recognition of this World Heritage landmark and preservation of Tibetan culture, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama has signed all copies of this Collector’s Edition. As pictured, Murals of Tibetcomes with a stand designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect and humanitarian pioneer Shigeru Ban.
Click the images below to view more books from TASCHEN, now available from Zane Bennett Contemporary Art. Browse all of our TASCHEN titles and other books in our online shop.
Judy Chicago is having a moment. In the past few months, she’s been featured in an Artsy podcast, profiled in an article for W Magazine, and hailed as “The Godmother” in a recent piece by New York Times Magazine. Here’s an excerpt:
Once your eye is trained to see Chicago’s imprint, it is everywhere, and unmistakable. It’s in Petra Collins’s menstruation-positive T-shirts; in the forthcoming installation on Sunset Boulevard in L.A. by Zoe Buckman of a huge uterus drawn in neon tubing crowned with boxing gloves; in the pink “pussy hats” that are worn in opposition to Trump’s election. Images like these — symbolically overt, politically and anatomically in-your-face, forcing a public confrontation with sexism — are all descended from Chicago’s imagination.
Another article that appeared in the New York Times a few days ago analyzed the tumultuous legacy of critical perspectives on Chicago’s most iconic work, The Dinner Party:
[Chicago] said that despite the art media’s early disparagement of her work, her way of overcoming the disappointment was to go into her studio and continue making art. She found a supportive community in Southern California’s Ferus boys, notably the American artist and sculptor Billy Al Bengston, from whom she said she learned quite a bit. “Early on, he told me: ‘Never read reviews. Just count the column inches and the number of pictures,’ advice I heeded for many years. And given the vicissitudes of my career, it was really good advice.”
Chicago’s fiery feminist statement on the rebirth of humanity, Birth Tear / Tear, appeared at our sister gallery form & concept when Chicago visited last February. Watch our Q&A with her here, and inquire about the piece below.
Donald Sultan (b. 1951) emerged as a master of the New Image movement in the 1970’s, producing elegant, minimalist imagery using industrial materials that were decidedly postminimal. Abstracted blooms are an iconic motif in his work. The new screen print in our collection offers a prime example of Sultan’s style, characterized by stark, black forms amid vibrant fields of color. In the print, tar and flocking enhance the dark fields, transforming them into infinite chasms with powerful visual gravity.
Scroll down to view our new Sultan screen print—along with a full bouquet of the artist’s flower compositions—in the Zane Bennett Contemporary collection, and click here to browse all available works.
Starting Black Friday (Nov. 24) and extending through Cyber Monday (Nov. 26), enjoy a 10% discount on any acquisition from Zane Bennett Contemporary Art. Scroll down to see our latest offerings, and browse the complete collection on our website.
Despite being credited with a Pop sensibility, Ed Ruscha (b. 1937) defies categorization with his diverse output of photographic books and tongue-in-cheek photo-collages, paintings, and drawings. Ruscha’s work is inspired by the ironies and idiosyncrasies of life in Los Angeles, which he often conveys by placing glib words and colloquial phrases atop photographic images or fields of color. Known for painting and drawing with unusual materials such as gunpowder, blood, and Pepto Bismol, Ruscha draws attention to the deterioration of language and pervasive clichés in pop culture.
Ruscha’s lithographRelos Arenais new to the Zane Bennett Contemporary collection. The artist’s bold style and idiosyncratic splatter effects are on dynamic display in the piece, but it also possesses an elegance and subtlety that echoes its subject matter. Scroll down to view detail images of this work, and click here to inquire now.