artists & participants
“Skin Fruit: Selections from the Dakis Joannou Collection” is the first exhibition in the United States of the Athens-based Dakis Joannou Collection, renowned as one of the leading collections of contemporary art in the world. This is also the first exhibition curated by artist Jeff Koons, who was invited to organize the show by the New Museum and whose work inspired Joannou to start his collection in 1985.
Including over 100 works by fifty international artists spanning several generations, the exhibition explores the age-old preoccupation with the human body as a vessel and vehicle for experience, a distinctive focus of the collection. Koons’s title “Skin Fruit” alludes to notions of genesis, evolution, original sin, and sexuality. “Skin” and “fruit” evoke the tensions between interior and exterior, between what we see and what we consume. In the exhibition 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.
It is no coincidence that Joannou’s collection developed in the cultural context of Greece, where classical sculpture defined the Western canon of anatomical representation. Artists have arrived at a much more uncertain image of humankind in this new century, a time in which bodies are still admired but also are assaulted by forces of our own making. Joannou’s collection is comprised of more than 1,500 works by 400 contemporary artists, from the most eminent to those just emerging. For “Skin Fruit,” Koons has selected works in many mediums including sculptures, works on paper, paintings, installations, and videos.
The show also marks the premiere of new works such as Charles Ray’s re-envisioned Revolution Counter-Revolution (1990/2010), on view on the fourth floor; a public installation of Jenny Holzer’s Selections from the Survival Series (1984) on the New Museum’s façade; and a special 3-D book commission by Italian artist Roberto Cuoghi available in the bookstore. “Skin Fruit” features only one work by Koons—his One Ball Total Equilibrium Tank (1985)—the first major artwork that Joannou acquired, initiating the collection that would grow to be one of the world’s finest. Within the context of the exhibition this influential object, with its both familiar and mysterious basketball suspended in fluid, becomes a point of origin and of departure.
According to Koons, “When you collect within the time of your own life, you confront your own mortality, and things that you respond to…you enter into the metaphysical aspect of art and art history. The vocabulary is not just linear, it’s like how light bends in time. History bends in time. And a collection bends in time.”
The exhibition is a merging of viewpoints: Dakis Joannou’s keen, critical eye, and Jeff Koons’s obsession with vision, clarity, and transparency. The works on display represent some of the best examples of contemporary art from the past twenty-five years, which Joannou acquired before hierarchies and values had been settled. Koons’s recent paintings are testament to his panoptical gaze: large canvases with superimposed figurative fragments from different original and appropriated images, including commercial photos, stylized details from Courbet paintings, comics, and cartoons. It is the same approach that Koons uses to curate the exhibition; “Skin Fruit” is installed so that most of the work is visible at the same time. For Koons, seeing means seeing everything; within the exhibition, Koons’s hyper-vision translates into an increasingly complex quest to strike a balance between disorder and form, between noise and music.
A full-color catalogue titled Skin Fruit: Selections from the Dakis Joannou Collection accompanies the exhibition, and features Jeff Koons in conversation with the Lisa Phillips, Toby Devan Lewis Director of the New Museum, and an essay by Massimiliano Gioni, New Museum Director of Special Exhibitions. An anthology of essays previously commissioned for Dakis Joannou’s DESTE Foundation publications is also included in the catalogue, with texts by Nicolas Bourriaud, Jeffrey Deitch, Peter Halley, Nancy Spector, and Lynne Tillman. The book includes more than 100 full-color illustrations of works in the exhibition, as well as images of other artworks in the Dakis Joannou Collection. The catalogue is available ($45 / $36 Members) at the New Museum Store or online newmuseumstore.org.
The Imaginary Museum
With the exhibition “Skin Fruit,” the New Museum launches The Imaginary Museum, a new exhibition series that will periodically showcase leading private collections of contemporary art from around the world, providing the opportunity for rarely seen, great works of art to be accessible to a broader public.
About the Dakis Joannou Collection and the DESTE Foundation
Dakis Joannou, a noted philanthropist, arts patron, and New Museum Trustee based in Athens, Greece, has worked closely with artists and curators since 1985 to assemble an unparalleled collection of iconic contemporary works that reflect his distinctive passion and fervor. Focusing on contemporary art from the ’80s to the present, the collection is constantly enriched with works by emerging artists. The collection contains major concentrations of works by some of the most distinguished and influential artists of the late twentieth and the beginning of the twenty-first century. Curated shows from the collection have been presented at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Kunsthalle, Vienna; Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna; the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki; and the Nicosia Municipal Arts Center, Cyprus, among other international venues.
“Collecting is, for me, an adventure, a set of different ‘lived’ experiences, a constant flow of meeting, talking, listening, looking. It is an act of understanding and participating. And within this never ending involvement with ‘what is happening,’ the moments when I see exciting works for the first time constitute some of the highlights of my life,” says Joannou.
In 1983, Joannou established the DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art—a nonprofit institution based in Athens, Greece, at the suggestion of Pierre Restany. Ever since, DESTE has been organizing exhibitions and supporting projects and publications internationally. Through an exhibition program that promotes emerging as well as established artists, the DESTE Foundation aims to broaden the audience for contemporary art, to enhance opportunities for young artists, to explore the connections between contemporary art and culture, and to encourage new scholarship on contemporary art. DESTE has established the Contemporary Greek Artists’ Archive, a resource for curators and researchers, as well as a specialized art library which is open to the public.
Selected Artists (50)
Paweł Althamer Born 1967 in Warsaw, Poland Lives and works in Warsaw, Poland
David Altmejd Born 1974 in Montreal, Canada Lives and works in London, United Kingdom, and Montreal, Canada
Janine Antoni Born 1964 in Freeport, Bahamas Lives and works in New York, NY
assume vivid astro focus Born sometime between the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, in various parts of the world Nomads
Tauba Auerbach Born 1981 in San Francisco, CA Lives and works in New York, NY, and San Francisco, CA
Matthew Barney Born 1967 in San Francisco, CA Lives and works in New York, NY
Vanessa Beecroft Born 1969 in Genoa, Italy Lives and works in Los Angeles, CA
Ashley Bickerton Born 1959 in Barbados, West Indies Lives in Kuta Bali, Indonesia
John Bock Born 1965 in Gribbohm, Germany Lives and works in Berlin, Germany
Mark Bradford Born 1961 in Los Angeles, CA Lives and works in Los Angeles, CA
Maurizio Cattelan Born 1960 in Padua, Italy Lives and works in New York, NY, and Milan, Italy
Paul Chan Born 1973 in Hong Kong, China Lives and works in New York, NY
Dan Colen Born 1979 in Leonia, NJ Lives and works in New York, NY
Nigel Cooke Born 1973 in Manchester, United Kingdom Lives and works in London, United Kingdom
Roberto Cuoghi Born 1973 in Modena, Italy Lives and works in Milan, Italy
Nathalie Djurberg Born 1978 in Lysekil, Sweden Lives and works in Berlin, Germany
Haris Epaminonda Born 1980 in Nicosia, Cyprus Lives and works in Berlin, Germany
Urs Fischer Born 1973 in Zurich, Switzerland Lives and works in New York, NY
Robert Gober Born 1954 in Wallingford, Connecticut Lives and works in New York, NY
Matt Greene Born 1972 in Atlanta, GA Lives and works in New York, NY
Mark Grotjahn Born 1968 in Pasadena, CA Lives and works in Los Angeles, CA
Adam Helms Born 1974 in Tucson, AZ Lives and works in New York, NY
Jenny Holzer Born 1950 in Gallipolis, OH Lives and works in Hoosick, NY
Elliott Hundley Born 1975 in Greensboro, North Carolina Lives and works in Los Angeles, CA
Mike Kelley Born 1954 in Detroit, MI Lives and works in Los Angeles, CA
Terence Koh Born 1977 in Beijing, China Lives and works in New York, NY
Jeff Koons Born 1955 in York, Pennsylvania Lives and works in New York, NY
Liza Lou Born 1969 in New York, NY Lives and works in Los Angeles, CA
Nate Lowman Born 1979 in Las Vegas, NV Lives and works in New York, NY
Mark Manders Born 1968 in Volkel, the Netherlands Lives and works in Arnhem, the Netherlands
Paul McCarthy Born 1945 in Salt Lake City, UT Lives and works in Los Angeles, CA
Dave Muller Born 1965 in San Francisco, CA Lives and works in Los Angeles, CA
Takashi Murakami Born 1963 in Tokyo, Japan Lives and works in Tokyo, Japan and Long Island City, NY
Tim Noble and Sue Webster Tim Noble: Born 1966 in Stroud, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom Sue Webster: Born 1967 in Leicester, United Kingdom Live and work together in Shoreditch, East London, United Kingdom
Cady Noland Born 1956 in Washington, D.C. Lives and works in New York, NY
Chris Ofili Born 1968 Manchester, United Kingdom Lives and works in London, United Kingdom
Seth Price Born 1973 in East Jerusalem, Israel Lives and works in New York, NY
Richard Prince Born 1949 in Panama Canal Zone, Panama Lives and works in Rensselaerville, NY
Charles Ray Born 1953 in Chicago, IL Lives and works in Los Angeles, CA
Tino Sehgal Born 1976 in London, United Kingdom Lives and works in Berlin, Germany
Jim Shaw Born 1952 in Midland, MI Lives and works in Los Angeles, CA
Cindy Sherman Born 1954 in Glen Ridge, NJ Lives and works in New York, NY
Kiki Smith Born 1954 in Nuremberg, Germany Lives and works in New York, NY
Christiana Soulou Born 1961 in Athens, Greece Lives and works in Athens, Greece
Jannis Varelas Born 1977 in Athens, Greece Lives and works in Athens, Greece, and Vienna, Austria
Kara Walker Born 1969 in Stockton, CA Lives and works in New York, NY
Gillian Wearing Born 1963 in Birmingham, United Kingdom Lives and works in London, United Kingdom
Andro Wekua Born 1977 in Sochumi, Georgia Lives and works in Zurich, Switzerland
Franz West Born 1947 in Vienna, Austria Lives and works in Vienna, Austria
Christopher Wool Born 1955 in Chicago, IL Lives and works in New York, NY
Skin Fruit: Selections from the Dakis Joannou Collection
Kurator: Jeff Koons
Künstler: Pawel Althamer, David Altmejd, Janine Antoni, assume vivid astro focus , Tauba Auerbach, Matthew Barney, Vanessa Beecroft, Ashley Bickerton, John Bock, Mark Bradford, Maurizio Cattelan, Paul Chan, Dan Colen, Nigel Cooke, Roberto Cuoghi, Nathalie Djurberg, Haris Epaminonda, Urs Fischer, Robert Gober, Matt Greene, Mark Grotjahn, Adam Helms, Jenny Holzer, Elliott Hundley, Mike Kelley, Terence Koh, Jeff Koons, Liza Lou, Nate Lowman, Mark Manders, Paul McCarthy, Dave Muller, Takashi Murakami, Tim Noble & Sue Webster, Cady Noland, Chris Ofili, Seth Price, Richard Prince, Charles Ray, Tino Sehgal, Jim Shaw, Cindy Sherman, Kiki Smith, Christiana Soulou, Jannis Varelas, Kara Walker, Gillian Wearing, Andro Wekua, Franz West, Christopher Wool