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Maria Bell and Marc Dennis Attend Press Preview of Jeff Koons "A Retrospective" at the Whitney

NEW YORK, NY -- (Marketwired) -- 07/15/14 -- On June 27th, the Whitney Museum of American Art in Manhattan opened its last exhibition at their old location on 75th Street and Madison Avenue before their move to the Meatpacking District next spring. For their grand finale museum director Adam Weinberg chose an equally influential and controversial contemporary artist: Jeff Koons, whose latest exhibition, "A Retrospective," organized by Scott Rothkopf and Laura Phipps, will be on display through to October 19, 2014. The show comprises over 150 objects from 1978 to today, covering Jeff Koons' whole career as an artist. The exhibition occupies the entire museum, with the exception of the 5th floor permanent collection, making it the largest show dedicated to a single artist in the 84-year long history of the Whitney Museum.

Prior to opening their doors to the public, the Whitney Museum and Jeff Koons hosted a press preview, which gave journalists and selected art lovers a chance to take a peek at Koons' paintings, sculptures and statuaries. Amongst them was Maria Arena Bell, a famous American TV producer, MoCA philanthropist, and art collector from Los Angeles, who serves on the board of several arts-related non-profits and has helped raise more than fifteen million dollars to further the arts in America. Together with her husband Bill Bell she has been collecting pieces by Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons and other contemporary artists. Bell invited Marc Dennis, a contemporary painter based in Brooklyn, and an artist in her collection, to accompany her to the special event.

One of Koons' most famous works actually served as inspiration to some of Dennis' paintings: "Rabbit," 1986, a sculpture made of stainless steel with a mirror-like surface that reflects its surroundings as well as its viewers. In 2006, Stella McCartney collaborated with Koons to create a platinum pendant in the shape of the famous rabbit and in 2007 it even floated through the streets of Manhattan as a Helium balloon during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Dennis first depicted Koons' rabbit in 2011, when he placed the little pendant in three of his paintings "I Love You, You Love Me," "Bedtime" and "Honey Bunny." When asked about the significance of the bunny in his work, Marc Dennis explains: "Jeff Koons created a series of pure platinum bunny pendants. They're very expensive functional art. I was introduced to the necklace by a collector, and after holding it and looking at it for a while, I realized it would make for a solid addition to my work because of its purity and cuteness, but also its decadence and excess. It's another perfect American visual signifier."

Marc Dennis is a New York-based artist who is known for his hyper-realistic paintings that display subjects of contemporary American culture. Dennis is represented by Hasted Kraeutler Gallery in Manhattan, and works from his studio in Brooklyn. His paintings have been included in numerous private and public group and solo exhibitions throughout the United States and world.

Marc Dennis website: http://www.marcdennis.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/marcdennis

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Marc-Dennis/845364702156653

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