Is Jeff Koons America’s Greatest Living Artist?

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Before you storm off to the comments section over that headline, stop a moment to consider that no matter where you personally rank Jeff Koons, a number of Europeans seem to think he’s America’s greatest. The subject of overlapping blockbusters in Frankfurt, Germany and the Basel suburb of Riehan in Switzerland — a full two years before he gets a grand stateside retrospective, which will span nearly every floor of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York — the enigmatic Koons is enjoying a moment of Old World splendor, one that even surpasses his dynamic display at the Palace of Versailles, outside of Paris, back in 2008.

Long a favorite of top galleries and mega-art-collectors, Koons is a perfectionist, who creates exquisitely crafted paintings and sculptures that reference ready-made objects — ranging from virginal vacuums displayed over bright lights and celebrities cast in ceramic or carved in wood to inflatable figures beautifully blown-up in shimmering steel and cartoon characters surrealistically captured in paint. With a goal making art accessible to everyone, Koons succeeds — with a little help from his friends — in turning Basel’s Beyeler Foundation and Frankfurt’s Schirn Kunsthalle and the Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung into pop culture paradises, chock full of whimsical pieces, through the rest of the summer. Click through to view a whopping selection of our favorite works from all three venues.

Jeff Koons, Stacked, 1988. Polychromed wood, 154.9 x 134.6 x 78.7 cm, Private collection © Jeff Koons. Photo: Jeff Koons Studio / Jim Strong, New York. (On view at the Beyeler Foundation)

Jeff Koons, Balloon Swan (Magenta), 2004–11. High chromium stainless steel with transparent color coating, 350.5 x 302.3 x 238.8 cm, Private collection © Jeff Koons. Photo: Jeff Koons Studio, New York (On view at the Beyeler Foundation)

Jeff Koons, Michael Jackson and Bubbles, 1988. Porcelain, 106.7 x 179.1 x 82.6 cm, The Broad Art Foundation, Santa Monica © Jeff Koons. Photo: Jeff Koons Studio / Douglas M. Parker Studio, Los Angeles (On view at the Beyeler Foundation)

Jeff Koons, New Hoover Convertible, 1980. Vacuum cleaner, acrylic, and fluorescent lights, 142.2 x 57.2 x 57.2 cm, Rubell Family Collection, Miami © Jeff Koons. Photo: Jeff Koons Studio / Douglas M. Parker Studio, Los Angeles (On view at the Beyeler Foundation)

Jeff Koons, Play-Doh, 1995–2007. Oil on canvas, 333.4 x 282.5 cm, Collection of the artist © Jeff Koons. Photo: Jeff Koons Studio, New York (On view at the Beyeler Foundation)

Jeff Koons, Split-Rocker, 2000. In Berower Park, Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel, 2012, with the support of JTI as well as Simone and Peter Forcart-Staehelin, InCentive Asset Management AG, Stainless steel, soil, geotextile fabric, internal irrigation system, and live flowering plants, 1120.1 x 1181.1 x 1082 cm, Collection of the artist © Jeff Koons. Photo: Andri Pol

Jeff Koons, Pink Panther, 1988. Porcelain, 104.1 x 52.1 x 48.3 cm, Courtesy The Brant Foundation, Greenwich, Connecticut © Jeff Koons. Photo: © TASCHEN GmbH / Schaub/Höffner, Cologne (On view at the Beyeler Foundation)

Jeff Koons, Ushering in Banality, 1988. Polychromed wood, 96.5 x 157.5 x 76.2 cm, Private collection © Jeff Koons. Photo: © TASCHEN GmbH / Schaub/Höffner, Cologne (On view at the Beyeler Foundation)

Jeff Koons, Balloon Dog (Red), 1994–2000. High chromium stainless steel with transparent color coating, 307.3 x 363.2 x 114.3 cm, European private collection © Jeff Koons. Photo: Jeff Koons Studio, New York (On view at the Beyeler Foundation)

Jeff Koons, Winter Bears, 1988. Polychromed wood, 121.9 x 111.8 x 39.4 cm, The Rachel and Jean-Pierre Lehmann Collection © Jeff Koons. Photo: Jeff Koons Studio, New York (On view at the Beyeler Foundation)

Jeff Koons, Cake, 1995–97. Oil on canvas, 318.5 x 295.6 cm, European private collection © Jeff Koons. Photo: Jeff Koons Studio / Jim Strong, New York (On view at the Beyeler Foundation)

Jeff Koons, Hanging Heart (Gold/Magenta), 1994–2006. High chromium stainless steel with transparent color coating, 291 x 280 x 101.5 cm, Collection of the artist © Jeff Koons. Photo: Serge Hasenböhler (On view at the Beyeler Foundation)

Jeff Koons, Bear and Policeman, 1988. Polychromed wood, 215.9 x 109.2 x 94 cm, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg © Jeff Koons. Photo: Jeff Koons Studio, New York (On view at the Beyeler Foundation)

Jeff Koons, Tulips, 1995–2004 High chromium stainless steel with transparent color coating, 203.2 x 457.2 x 520.7 cm Prada Collection, Milan © Jeff Koons Photo: Serge Hasenböhler (On view at the Beyeler Foundation)

Jeff Koons, New Shelton Wet/Drys Tripledecker, 1981. Three vacuum cleaners, acrylic, and fluorescent lights, 316.2 x 71.1 x 71.1 cm, Des Moines Art Center Permanent Collections, purchased with funds from Roy Halston Frowick by exchange, 1991 © Jeff Koons. Photo: Jeff Koons Studio, New York (On view at the Beyeler Foundation)

Jeff Koons, Lips, 2000 (Easyfun-Ethereal), oil on canvas, 299.7 x 431.8 cm, Private Collection, Courtesy Gagosian Gallery © Jeff Koons (On view at the Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt)

Jeff Koons, Rabbit, 1986, Stainless steel, 41 x 19 x 12 inches © Jeff Koons (On view at the Liebieg Museum of Sculpture, Frankfurt)

Jeff Koons, Poodle, 1991 (Made in Heaven), Polychromed wood, 23 x 39 1/2 x 20 1/2 inches © Jeff Koons (On view at the Liebieg Museum of Sculpture, Frankfurt)

Jeff Koons, Landscape (Cherry Tree), 2009, from Hulk Elvis, oil on canvas, 274.3 x 213.4 cm. Collection of Michael & Lise Evans, New York © Jeff Koons (On view at the Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt)

Jeff Koons, Popeye Train (Crab), 2008 (Popeye), oil on canvas, 274.3 x 213.4 cm, Private Collection, Courtesy Gagosian Gallery © Jeff Koons, Photo: Rob McKeever (On view at the Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt)

Jeff Koons, Hulk Elvis II, 2007 (Hulk Elvis) oil on canvas 274.3 x 213.4 cm Private Collection, Courtesy Gagosian Gallery © Jeff Koons (On view at the Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt)

Jeff Koons, Large Vase of Flowers, 1991 (Made in Heaven) Polychromed wood, 52 x 43 x 43 inches © Jeff Koons (On view at the Liebieg Museum of Sculpture, Frankfurt)

Jeff Koons, Loopy, 1999 (Easyfun) oil on canvas, 274.3 x 200.7 cm, Courtesy Bill Bell Collection © Jeff Koons (On view at the Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt)

Jeff Koons, Monkey Train, 2007 (Hulk Elvis) oil on canvas 274.3 x 213.4 cm Private Collection, Courtesy Gagosian Gallery © Jeff Koons (On view at the Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt)

Jeff Koons, Cat on a Clothesline, 1994–2001 (Celebration), Rotationally molded polyethylene, 123 x 110 x 50 inches The Broad Art Foundation, Santa Monica © Jeff Koons (On view at the Liebieg Museum of Sculpture, Frankfurt)

Jeff Koons, Bagel, 2002 (Easyfun-Ethereal), oil on canvas 274.3 x 213.4 cm © Jeff Koons (On view at the Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt)

Jeff Koons, Titti Tire, 2003 (Popeye), Polychromed aluminum, rubber, coated steel chain, 42 1/16 x 37 3/8 x 25 5/16 inches. Private Collection, New York © Jeff Koons (On view at the Liebieg Museum of Sculpture, Frankfurt)

Jeff Koons, Antiquity 3, 2011 (Antiquity), oil on canvas, 259.1 x 350.5 cm, Private Collection, Courtesy Fundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso para el Arte © Jeff Koons (On view at the Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt)

Jeff Koons, Bourgeois Bust – Jeff and Ilona, 1991 (Made in Heaven) Marble, 44 1/2 x 28 x 21 inches, © Jeff Koons (On view at the Liebieg Museum of Sculpture, Frankfurt)

Jeff Koons, Pail, 1986 (Luxury & Degradation) Stainless steel, 19 1/2 x 13 12 1/8 inches © Jeff Koons (On view at the Liebieg Museum of Sculpture, Frankfurt)