NEW YORK (AP) — Jeff Koons is taking over the Whitney Museum of American Art.
The contemporary artist's oversized toylike sculptures of a dog, gorilla, Popeye and other works spanning a three-decade career will fill nearly the entire museum from June 27 through Oct. 19.
"Jeff Koons: A Retrospective" is the most comprehensive exhibition of the artist's work — and the Whitney's final show at its Madison Avenue location before moving downtown to a Renzo Piano-designed building in 2015.
Koons is arguably one of the most popular living artists today. Last year, he became the most expensive living artist, too, when his "Balloon Dog (Orange)" sold for $58.4 million at auction.
"From tchotchkes and kitsch objects to working with pop stars like Lady Gaga on her recent album cover, he's a rare artist who's managed to find a broad audience," said Scott Rothkopf, a Koons expert and curator of the exhibit.
The show's planning and installation, four years in the making, has been a herculean task for the museum. For the first time, it had to remove the front doors and find creative ways for getting the monumental pieces to upper galleries.
His objects "are quite complicated to install in terms of their rigging and how they can be handled," Rothkopf said. "They're heavy, they're big. They have very fragile surfaces that can crack or chip."
He added: "In terms of weight, size and delicacy, all together they create a trifecta."
The museum created full-scale models of some objects to test how they would fit in the elevators. It made videos, 3-D renderings and small models to test clearances. It worked with engineering firms, riggers, Koons' own team and the objects' fabricators. The sculpture court pavers were re-enforced to take the weight of two never-before-seen black granite pieces: a woman reclining in a tub and Popeye planted with live flowers.