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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Art to the Editor

If you haven’t been to a museum or gallery in a while, and you’re itching to see some great art, perhaps you should take a look at the Museum of Fine Art’s new show.

“Jasper Johns to Jeff Koons: Four Decades of Art from the Broad Collections,” which is at the MFA until October 20th, is one of the best shows Boston has seen in a while. If you can find the time, you should definitely make the trip to see this candy-colored collection that succinctly summarizes art in the second half of the twentieth century.

Artists that are represented in the show include John Baldessari, Stephan Balkenhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Eric Fischl, Anselm Kiefer, Roy Lichtenstein, Charles Ray, Susan Rothenberg, Ed Ruscha, David Salle, Julian Schnabel, Cindy Sherman, Robert Therrien, Cy Twombly, and the infamous Andy Warhol. All the usual suspects and, of course, Jasper Johns and Jeff Koons.

Despite this rather long list of exceptional and well-known artists, the show doesn’t exhaust the viewer, or overwhelm them with a random barrage of disparate works.

The show is successful due to its diverse cast. Each piece of art could stand on its own, and yet becomes a necessary component of the larger whole in such an eclectic retrospective such as this one.

This is, in fact, the philosophy of the collectors Eli and Edythe Broad, who have been acquiring art for over three decades. “I don’t want just one object by an artist,” Eli Broad has stated. “If I believe in an artist, it’s important to have a group on display.”

While some of the art is abstract, most of the works on display are representational, and address social issues, such as Flag by Jasper Johns and Rabbit by Jeff Koons (seen at right.) In depicting popular iconography in a painterly fashion, Johns transcended and united Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art. And by creating the most banal, most kitch art, Koons’s addresses the issues of modern consumerism in a comical and strangely inviting way.