Apollo is the god of the son. He also presides over music, dance, poetry, and all things arty. How perfect, then, that the image of Apollo is the centerpiece of artist Jeff Koons’s multisensory spectacle on the sunny Greek isle of Hydra.
“Jeff Koons: Apollo,” on offer at the mega-collector Dakis Joannou’s Deste Foundation in a former slaughterhouse, is a “metaphysical dialogue between the contemporary and ancient,” according to the show’s organizers.
If you’re not sure what that means, or what it looks like, we’ve put together some images of this summer spectacle. (For a sense of the social scene at the opening, see Janelle Zara’s Wet Paint in the Wild from earlier this summer.)
Perhaps the iconic image of the exhibition is (2020–22), a motorized steel and bronze sun whose gleaming face greets visitors coming and going from the slaughterhouse.
The rest of the exhibition is in a space adorned in a style inspired by ancient Roman frescos near Pompeii.
At its heart is an installation titled (2019–22) featuring a very different, polychromed Apollo. The god’s snake is animatronic—“so real it scares people,” according to Zara. A soundtrack mashes up classical Greek and contemporary pop references.
An even more contemporary offering to the sun god is a pair of polychromed bronze sneakers, titled, bluntly enough, (2020–22).
These detailed simulations of contemporary objects are at last supplemented by a display that amounts to something like an altar to a god of contemporary art: Marcel Duchamp.
It really is a multi-sensory experience. To get more of the full effect, French journalist Judith Benhamou-Huet’s video from the site is worth a look.