Crazy for Koons

Published: November 16, 2009
LOS ANGELES—“The most chemically charged your body can feel is through acceptance,” artist Jeff Koons told the London Times earlier this year. If he strives for viewers to accept themselves and one another, on Saturday, at a special brunch organized by dealer Larry Gagosian at his Beverly Hills gallery to celebrate the artist’s new painting show, he seemed to be succeeding in those goals.

Multiple generations of art world legends united for the event, including one of the great patriarchs of the Los Angeles art world, onetime dealer Irving Blum, whose former gallery, Ferus, was recently lionized in a publication put out by Gagosian’s publishing imprint. He was just one of the many dealers who came from around the world to pay their respects to Koons.

Emmanuel Perrotin, who has spaces in Miami and Paris, stopped by the festivities, representing the younger end of the luminaries who assembled for the party, along with private dealer Christophe Van de Weghe. Jeffrey Deitch, who reportedly once pushed his business to the edge of bankruptcy to fund Koons’s epic "Celebration" sculptures, also visited the show in his trademark uniform: a suit and glasses of his own design.

The opening’s host, in contrast, decided to dress down for the event. Gagosian chatted with his guests in a pair of blue jeans with sunglasses propped casually on top of his head, as Koons, with apparently limitless energy, greeted visitors, posed for photos, and signed copies of his book, Hulk Elvis, for Hollywood moguls including producer and director Brett Ratner.

Prominent collectors — among them Peter Brant, looking no worse for wear, despite a tough time selling work at Christie’s last Tuesday, and Eli Broad — and even some local museum officials, such as Los Angeles County Museum of Art director Michael Govan, also came to see the new work and catch up with old friends.

Click the photo gallery at the left to see more of the e

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