5 Reasons to love: Jeff Koons

Jeffrey “Jeff” Koons. You either love him or hate him. Most people hate him. I love him: which is a good job really, else this article wouldn’t exist, and your lives would all be a tiny bit worse for it. Presumably Koons, a stinking rich slice of art royalty, does not need much of an ego boost; but in case his critics have been particularly unforgiving on him recently and he needs a pep talk, here are five reasons why he should be dancing to “Celebrate” by Kool & the Gang, in his pants.

5. He’s just helped to create an awesome cover for an album

Even if you had no idea who Jeff Koons was, you might now, as self-proclaimed art fan Lady Gaga won’t shut up about him. The sculpture he created of the singer is an addition to his Gazing Ball series of this year, and features on the cover of her newest album, ARTPOP. The sculpture immortalises Gaga via the work of one of her many idols, and when the sculpture goes on sale at the album’s release party in November it will keep Koons in yachts for another year. Everyone’s a winner here.

4. He doesn’t give a monkeys what you think

Critics have been slinging mud at Koons since Wham! were on the radio, hurling such insults as “fraudster”, “cheap” and “silly-billy” (made that last one up). Lesser men may have retreated, and started doing brown oil paintings of fields with carthorses in, and bales of hay. Not Koons. He was the highest grossing artist until 2008- that pesky banking crisis eh?- and has made a show-stopping comeback this year. New works exhibited at Frieze Art Fair include a sculpture of a giant kitten in a sock hanging off an imaginary washing line and WHAT YOU GON’ DO ABOUT IT?

3. He makes massive sculptures of balloon animals

Let’s get one thing straight- if there’s one thing better than a balloon animal, it’s a MASSIVE balloon animal. So avoid that creep Mister Twister in your town centre offering to make you a ‘sword’ and behold the real deal. Koons’ Balloon Dog sculptures are probably the most famous and recognisable of his works, and although fashioned from high chromium stainless steel they look as though you could pop ‘em with a pin. A celebration of the artist’s son, a smaller and cheaper alternative for your own kid is a Balloon Modelling Kit, £4.99, ebay.

2. His art is for everyone (kind of. It’s not.)

You’re sure to find something you recognise amongst Koons’ cast of characters. From the Incredible Hulk and Tweetie Pie to inflatable pool toys, his work is full of references to pop culture, and stuff you have lying around in your garage. Even if you have no prior training in the viewing of art, everyone can engage with a Koons, even if only on the level of “Hahaha that’s Popeye that is!” Despite the familiarity of such content to us peasants, Koons has been accused of pandering only to rich art collectors. Come on, an artist’s gotta eat. Ain’t nobody wanna end up like Van Gogh.

1. He is a true showman

Clad in his no-nonsense grey suits, he looks like someone who would try to get you to switch internet providers, or convert you to the Jehovah’s Witnesses. However, Koons is a showman of the highest degree, with many of his earlier works featuring the artist’s image, both posing for art magazine adverts, and graphically getting it on with his wife. He has mastered the art of baffling reporters with wordy interpretations of his art, but most telling of all he has a ‘signature’ pose when confronted with a photo opportunity. Arms spread, grinning next to his work; its main, good-natured message is basically ‘GUYS…I WIN’.