Contemporary Art Market: Showman presents dazzling display of crafted vulgarity: As Jeff Koons has his first exhibition in Britain, one of the country's greatest artists returns home

THE MOST spectacular show in any London gallery this week is the Jeff Koons retrospective at Anthony d'Offay's (9, 21, 23 and 24 Dering Street, W1), the first exclusively of his work in Britain. One gasps at Koons's monumental vulgarity, but the total effect is dazzling.

A 7ft bear embraces a startled policeman in the gallery window; the wooden sculpture, based on a humorous postcard Koons bought at Heathrow, carries the show's top price of dollars 425,000 ( pounds 283,000). Koons employs the wood carvers of Oberammergau in Bavaria, who usually make Madonnas for the tourist trade, to produce his sculptures. And a slight whiff of sanctity hovers over the secular motifs; there is a spectacular vase of carved and painted flowers at dollars 225,000 ( pounds 150,000) and a 3ft poodle for dollars 100,000 ( pounds 66,000).

He gets his marble works carved in Italy. D'Offay's has a head and shoulders Self-portrait emerging from a marble iceflow at dollars 250,000 ( pounds 166,000). His porcelain is made in Germany; two naked children, 4ft high, studying a sexually arresting bunch of flowers are priced at dollars 250,000.

Just to underline the fact that Koons is the showman who has the idea, not the craftsman who makes the art work, one should mention the bronze Aqualung offered at dollars 225,000. He took an aqualung with its oxygen cylinder, rubber tubes and canvas shoulder straps to a foundry in upper New York State and had the whole thing cast in bronze; the Koons contribution was minute quality control to ensure that every texture was reproduced correctly.

While d'Offay devotes his main galleries to high-profile artists like Koons, he opened a new space earlier this year, at the back of 24 Dering Street, to show emerging talent. The present exhibit is a work by the 35-year-old Japanese artist, Yukinori Yanagi, called Union Jack Ant Farm. It comprises 16 national flags of former British colonies made from coloured sand in perspex boxes which are connected by transparent plastic tubes; a colony of ants has been introduced from the back of the art work - where they are fed daily; the ants are gradually deconstructing the flags by walking through the sand boxes and tubes. It costs dollars 40,000 ( pounds 26,000).

It may not sound saleable but d'Offay's two former 'emerging' exhibits have found prestigious buyers.

The Anthony Reynolds Gallery, over the road from d'Offay at 5 Dering Street, is also attracting international attention to the 'emerging' market with a show that stands normal curatorial practice on its head.

At one week's notice, Reynolds invited 72 different people to bring one art work they admired to the gallery and leave it for exhibition.

An abstract by James Smeaton, an Australian artist whose work has never been shown in Britain, was sent by Federal Express from New York and sold on the second day to a Californian collector for pounds 1,500.

Charles Saatchi, Britain's most voracious collector, has bought a work called Pure Filth, contrived from glass, dust and perspex tubing, by Emma Smith - who has never previously exhibited - at pounds 800.

(Photographs omitted)

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Gabriel Agbonlahor, Alexis Sanchez, Alan Pardew and Graziano Pelle
footballAfter QPR draw, follow Villa vs Arsenal, Newcastle vs Hull and Swansea vs Southampton
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam