Art critic Linda Yablonsky is writing her first book about the art world, and her subject is none other than polarizing artist Jeff Koons, king of pop.
Much has been written about Koons, but book publications have mainly accompanied exhibitions or new bodies of work. (The artist also teamed up with Norman Rosenthal on a book of conversations in 2014.)
In contrast, Yablonksy half-jokingly referred to her planned tome as “high-stakes melodrama” in an email to artnet News. Over the course of his celebrated four-decade career, Koons has not been without his controversies, infamously posing for sexually explicit photographs with then-wife Ilona “Cicciolina” Staller for his “Made in Heaven” series (1990–91).
In more recent years, Koons has made headlines for laying off workers in his studio, a large-scale operation that makes the production of his ambitious, larger-than-life paintings and sculptures possible. (The time-consuming nature of this process is currently the subject of a legal complaint.) He also attracted criticism for his proposed monument to the 2015 Paris attacks, which the city has since opted not to display, as originally intended, at the Place de Tokyo square in front of the Eiffel Tower.
Little is known about the upcoming book, other than it will be about Koons’s life and career, the highlights of which include the monumental (1992), a dog sculpture covered in live flowers; and the equally massive, metallic “Balloon Dog” sculptures, one of which set the record for a work sold at auction by a living artist with a $58.4 million sale at Christie’s New York in 2013.
Yablonsky came to New York in 1966 as a college student. Despite her immersion in the art world—as a one-time theater student, Yablonsky penned her first and only play about a conceptual artist—she didn’t embark on her career as a critic until 1992 when she began writing reviews for . A regular contributor there until last October, Yablonksy now has a recurring column for .
The forthcoming Koons book, Yablonsky’s second after her 1998 novel , is being published by MacMillan’s Henry Holt & Co.