A MAJOR exhibition by one of the biggest names in contemporary art will be held at Oxford's Ashmolean Museum early next year.

Jeff Koons will curate a show of his own work at the Beaumont Street museum in February.

The exhibition, which will be jointly curated by art historian Sir Norman Rosenthal, will feature 17 important works, 14 of which have never been exhibited in the UK before. They span the artist’s career and will include his best-known series including Equilibrium, Statuary, Banality, Antiquity and his recent Gazing Ball sculptures and paintings.

The artist said: “I couldn’t think of a better place to have a dialogue about art today and what it can be.”

Dr Xa Sturgis, Director of the Ashmolean, says: ‘In showing Jeff Koons at the Ashmolean, the world’s oldest public museum where the collections range from prehistory to the present, this

exhibition will provoke a conversation between his work and the history of art and ideas with which his work engages.

"I am sure it will also provoke conversations among those who see it.’

Koons, 63, who emerged onto the contemporary art scene in the 1980s he has been described as the most famous, important, subversive, controversial and expensive artist in the world.

From his earliest works he has explored the ‘readymade’ and appropriated image – using unadulterated found objects, and creating painstaking replicas of ancient sculptures and Old Master paintings with great precision.

The Ashmolean exhibition will include important works from the 1980s with which Koons made his name through the novel use of the readymade and the appropriation of popular imagery: One Ball Total Equilibrium Tank, Rabbit and Ushering in Banality.

It will also explore Koons’s more recent focus on the art of antiquity and the western art canon where layered images of ancient and modern art meet in Koons’s singular vision. Among the highlights will be the spectacular Balloon Venus.