Weekend Special: Food Themes in the Art of Jeff Koons


Sandwiches with mustard smiles and sliced olive eyes, from EasyFun-Ethereal.

While we think of Jeff Koons (American artist, born 1955, York, Pennsylvania) mainly for his crass, sleek, kitschy style, and subject matter consisting of balloon animals, life-size pornographic sculptures, and paintings with Dali-esque layouts, it’s clear that food has also been a major inspiration, especially its playful and sensual sides. A major repository of this material is the 2001 show called “EasyFun-Ethereal,” in which images of vernacular eats underpin many of the painterly compostions.

The show is somewhat controversial because, though Koons himself sketched the layouts of the paintings, the paintings themselves were entirely executed by his staff. These works of art are done in a collage style, and it takes some staring to decipher the compostions. In the one shown above, mediocre deli sandwiches are decorated with cartoonish faces made of condiments, with his familiar moustache icon plastered on top.

Here, then, are more Koons food-related compositions.