Jeff Koons Details Controversial New Museum Show

The New Museums controversial show of work from billionaire collector Dakis Joannous art trove now has a curious new name and a list of artists courtesy of its special guest curator, the artist Jeff Koons. The museum announced yesterday that the show, entitled “Skin Fruit,” would include more than 100 works by 50 artists, including one by Koons.

The artist list stretches from contemporary art stalwarts like Paul McCarthy, Richard Prince, and Franz West to younger figures like Dan Colen, Andro Wekua, and Nate Lowman. New versions of work by Charles Ray, Jenny Holzer, and Robert Cuoghi will also be on display for the first time.

As for "Skin Fruit"'s bewildering name, the New Museum says that the title "alludes to notions of genesis, evolution, original sin, and sexuality.” Setting the stage for the show, the museum's press release continues that “role-playing games and dramas occur: a man will stage a religious ritual; a sculpture literally sings out; white chocolate monuments tower above visitor’s heads; voracious creatures eat themselves and each other while bodies are buried or frozen; icons and deities are adored or dethroned.”

Some have charged that the show is tainted by conflicts of interest, since Joannou, who is a New Museum trustee, could increase the value of his collection with the exhibition. Joannou’s personal curator, Jeffrey Deitch, vigorously defended the exhibition last November, saying that the project involves “having one of the most interesting, radical artists of our time do an artistic curation of the best contemporary art collection of our time.”

Many artists who have exhibited with Deitch are featured in the exhibiton, including Tauba Auerbach, Vanessa Beecroft, Matt Greene, Tim Noble & Sue Webster, and Assume Vivid Astro Focus. The exhibition is the first edition in a planned series called “The Imaginary Museum” at the New Museum, which will show work from leading private collections from around the world.