Jeff Koons. Shine. In Florence the light of contemporaneity.

“Sweetness” by Beatrice Brandini

Jeff Koons “Elephant” , 2003

Courtesy PinchukArtCentre, Kyiv Ucraina

From 2 October 2021, until 30 January 2022, Palazzo Strozzi is dedicating a major exhibition to one of the most important and controversial figures in contemporary art: Jeff Koons.

Balloon Monkey (blue) 2006 – 2013 Courtesy private collection

The facade of Palazzo Strozzi

The Jeff Koons exhibition. Shine, curated by Arturo Galansino and Joachim Pissaro, brings to Florence a selection of the artist’s most famous works, many of which come from private collections and the most prestigious international museums, where the common thread is the concept of shine (SHINE) , understood literally as an optical effect, but also metaphorically, as an ambiguous thought of shining and appearing.


Seated Ballerina,  2010 – 2015 Private collection

Koons had already been a protagonist in Florence in 2015 with the Jeff Koons in Florence exhibition, this is therefore a return to one of the oldest and most historic buildings in the city, where, upon entering and visiting the exhibition, we could be mirrored in his shiny sculptures and installations,  in contrast to the severe fifteenth-century architecture of Palazzo Strozzi.


Sacred Heart (magenta/Gold) 1994 – 2007 Jereann and Holland Chaney

Rabbit , 1986 Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago 

The artist’s work consists of a gesture with the aim of showing people what their potential is. It is not about creating an object or an image; everything happens in the relationship with the viewer. This is where art takes place “. Jeff Koons

Balloon Dog (Red) 1994 – 2000 Private collection

Balloon Dog (Red) 1994 – 2000 Private collection

The exhibition brings together the most significant works of Koons’ career starting from the seventies, those works that we have seen many times and that have rightfully entered the collective imagination, protagonists of the art of this century.

Inflatabe flowers (four tall purple with plastic figures) 1978. Private collection

Five double-sided floor mirrors with inflatable flowers 1978. Collection of the artist

Koons was in fact able to combine high culture with popular culture, his fame was also rooted thanks to forays into the world of fashion (remember the collaboration with Louis Vuitton) and advertising.


Ballons Venus Lespugue (Red) 2013 – 2019 Private collection, Courtesy David Zwirner

The exhibition project is promoted and organized by the Palazzo Strozzi Foundation with the support of the Municipality of Florence and the Tuscany Region.

Moments of the press conference: Jeff Koons together with Arturo Galansino and Dario Nardella

The speech by Eugenio Giani

At the press conference the interventions were all pertinent and precise; I will focus only on that of the President of the Region Eugenio Giani, for the lucidity, enthusiasm and attention he has always reserved for artistic and cultural events, and that of the Mayor Dario Nardella, for having emphasized how since 2015, the year in which Koons exhibited his glittering Pluto and Proserpina in Piazza Signoria, the city has opened up to the contemporary.

Hulk (Tubas) 2004 – 2018 Collection of the artist

Glimpse of the Jeff Koons exhibition. Shine

But also to thank Giuseppe Morbidelli and Arturo Galansino, respectively President and Director of the Palazzo Strozzi Foundation, for the continuous efforts and the will to project the Strozzi Foundation on an international level. We all know what the word Florence evokes in the world, however I think it is important to give this city a more contemporary vision. Investment in art is everyone’s heritage.

Tulips 1995 – 1998 Private collection

Gazing Ball (Diana) 2013 Private collection

The exhibition is very beautiful and the works, often of very large dimensions, are a magnet, a hypnotic game, for our gaze, it is like entering a fairytale universe, in the world of Alice, at any moment the white rabbit could appear.  A playful and sharing space, we are reflected in these works, sharing their message. For this reason, I recommend that you visit this exhibition and also do it together with your children or grandchildren, Koons is an artist who will conquer them with a simple and direct language.

Bluebird Planter 2010 – 2016 Courtesy Private collection

Koons was awarded the Palazzo Strozzi Renaissance Man of the Year Award 2021, in the various reasons there is the one I share the most, namely “Jeff Koons’ works carry a message of serenity, self-acceptance and optimism, so necessary in today’s world full of polarization, separation and violence ”.

Donkey 1999 Vanhaerents Art Collection, Bruxelles

Therefore, after so much pain, this exposure can only be a great positive sign of restart and trust.

“I think that when you leave the room, the art also comes out. Art is about your possibilities as a human being. It’s about your excitement, your potential, and what you can become. Affirm your existence ”. Jeff Koons

Good life to everyone!



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