Have you ever shot a commercial?
I shot a print ad for
Calvin Klein and for Prada.
Sounds like that mimicked art rather than using advertising as a form.
It’s not the same vocabulary. I’ve never been hired by
Coca Cola, where you use everything you understand about sociology and
images for the benefit of Coca Cola.
How did you turn the 1986
stainless steel sculpture "Rabbit" into an icon that defies association?
Jeff Koons, Tulips, 2004, ©Jeff Koons
Rabbit comes from a series called
Statuary. Rabbit was art as fantasy. I was referencing
indoor/outdoor sculpture; where I grew up in Pennsylvania, there were a
lot of glass mercury bowls in people’s yards. The rabbit has tension and
sexuality. I was going back and forth whether to make an inflatable rabbit
or pig, and the rabbit won. My next body of work after Statuary was
Why the pig?
It’s an animal that’s looked
down upon. The vocabulary of the
Banality show was about accepting one’s cultural history. There’s a
self-debasement using the pig. I’m trying to make works that people
embrace for who they are – then they can start on a more objective path.
Koons' studio, 2005
Kaplan ©Copyright Cheryl Kaplan 2005.
All rights reserved.
In a lot of your work,
there’s a strange familiarity, like a lost relative who shows up and who’s
actually not part of the family.
people to feel comfortable around the images. When they look at art, it’s
very brief. I want to contribute to a communal life.
your early training as a broker help you in the art world?
Jeff Koons, Hair with Cheese, from the
series " Easyfun-Ethereal", 2000
Deutsche Bank Collcetion, ©Jeff Koons
before I was a broker, when I was a child, I went door to door with my
parents selling candy, gift-wrapping paper, and other products. My parents
drove me around and parked the car in different communities and then
picked me up. This taught me self-reliance and a sense of difference and
acceptance. I never knew who would open the door or the quality of the
How old were you?
Eight. I wanted to
sell the product, but it was a way of meeting their needs.
they didn’t believe you, they wouldn’t buy a thing. It was also the end of
the door-to-door salesman.
Jeff Koons, Bluepoles, from the series " Easyfun-Ethereal", 2000
Deutsche Bank Collection, ©Jeff Koons
why I did the Hoover vacuum cleaner
series – as a reference to the door-to-door salesman. People in sales are
on the front line of our culture.
How does amusement function in
your work? I’m thinking about the 2000 painting "Bluepoles" that has been
shown at the
Deutsche Guggenheim. It depicts a state fair where happy, but
distorted characters are on a roller coaster.
I just took my
children to a state fair in Pennsylvania this weekend and they saw pig
races and jelly bean contests… In Blue Poles, I thought of
Jackson Pollock. That painting has a darker side.
rides between pain and pleasure.
As in Caterpillar Chains
. Caterpillar Ladder is in the back room. You don’t know if it’s a
piece of furniture for the bedroom.