Love him or hate him, there is no escaping Jeff Koons, the king of pornographic kitsch, in Frankfurt these days, with a mammoth double retrospective in two of the city's main museums.
Ubiquitous oversized posters line the river front and are plastered across every metro station proclaiming "Wow" or "Must See" for what is being hailed as the biggest-ever show of works by the 57-year-old American pop artist, opening here on Wednesday.
The Schirn Kunsthalle, one of the city's two museums for contemporary art, is hosting "Jeff Koons. The Painter", with a total 45 canvasses on display, while the small and more genteel Liebieghaus, a villa which sits in a leafy garden on the south bank of the Main, is showing 44 works of "Jeff Koons. The Sculptor".
The spectacular double exhibition, which is expected to break all attendance records at both houses, runs until September 23.
Pennsylvania-born Koons, whose works regularly fetch astronomic prices at auction, is perhaps most notorious for a series of sexually explicit paintings, photographs and sculptures entitled "Made in Heaven" in 1990-91 with his then partner, porn-star Ilona Staller or Cicciolina.
A small selection of the pictures from the series are on display in a separate room in the Schirn.
But his outsized paintings and sculptures of objects from trivial culture -- inflatable dolphins, balloon bunnies and cartoon figures such as Popeye and the Incredible Hulk -- have led his work to be dismissed as vapid or mere merchandising in art circles.
One of the main attractions in the Liebieghaus is a gigantic cream and golden porcelain sculpture of Michael Jackson and his pet chimpanzee Bubbles.
Koons coolly dismisses his critics.
"'Kitsch' is a word of judgement. I don't believe in judgement," he told reporters at a special press viewing ahead of the official opening.
"I want to show what it means to be human. I like shiny surfaces, to affirm the viewer: you are here."
For the shows' curators, Koons "uses motifs from popular culture, which he defamiliarises or imitates. His works play with kitsch and commerce and is rich in art-historical associations. Koons makes references to important artists such as Marcel Duchamp or Andy Warhol, but also to the artistic styles of the baroque and the roccoco."
The daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung was not convinced.
"His art is madly elaborate and technically perfect and car designers can learn a lot from his obsessive handling of varnish and seemingly fluid steel. His works have an effect merely because you can't overlook them. But 'Must See'? No," it wrote in a review.
By contrast, the Frankfurter Rundschau found the sculptures -- placed among the Liebieghaus's exquisite collection of antique Roman and Greek marbles -- "magnificent".
"They didn't seem misplaced at all" among the busts and statues of past millennia, it wrote. "Never was it more clear that Koons is a sculptor and not a painter."
The Liebieghaus's curator, Vinzenz Brinkmann, said that "from a certain point of view, Jeff Koons is the last artist of the antiquity," because he, like the ancient sculptors, "shared an interest in the quest for perfection, for craftsmanship and a love of flamboyant colours."
And like them, too, he combined the divine with sexuality, in contrast to the philosophy of Christianity, Brinkmann said.
Runs from June 20-September 23. Tickets 14 euros.