Jeff Koons

American sculptor

Jeff Koons (born January 21, 1955) is an American contemporary artist and sculptor. He is noted for his use of kitsch imagery, sometimes in sculptural form and extremely large in size. His work is amongst the most expensive in the world for a contemporary artist.

Jeff Koons, 2014.




  • I try to be a truthful artist and I try to show a level of courage. I enjoy that. I’m a messenger.
    • Jeff Koons in: Ottman, K. (1988) "Jeff Koons," Journal of Contemporary Art–Online 1(1): 18–23; cited in: Galman, Sally AC. "The truthful messenger: visual methods and representation in qualitative research in education." qualitative research 9.2 (2009): 197-217.
  • The media, the galleries, the collectors – it's all very chaotic actually. The artworld doesn't have this defined corporate structure that people imagine. Of course there's a system of sorts. This person will talk to that person and somebody else will pass it on to somebody else... you can trace a line of power of some kind. But its nothing like as clear and set as people think. And this chaos leads to a lot of insecurity. It's only after an artist has achieved some independence from it that he MODERN PAINTERS can really stand up to the collectors and the dealers and do his art.
    • Jeff Koons in: Modern Painters. Vol. 2 (1989), p. 63
Jeff Koons in Bilbao.
Kiepenkerl, Washington, D.C.

"From Full Phantom Five," 1988


Jeff Koons. "From Full Phantom Five," 1988. Republished in: Parkett, Nr. 19. (1989), p. 45;

  • My work will use everything that it can to communicate. It will use any trick; it'll do anything — absolutely anything — to communicate and to win the viewer over. Even the most unsophisticated people are not threatened by it; they aren't threatened that this is something they have no understanding of. They can look at it and they can participate with it. And also somebody who has been very highly educated in art and deals with more esoteric areas can also view it and find that the work is open as far as being something that wants to add more to our culture. The work wants to meet the needs of' the people. It tries to bring down all the barriers that block people From their culture. that shield and hide them. It tells them to embrace the moment instead of always feeling that they're being indulged by things that they do not participate in. It tells them to believe in something and to eject their will. The idea of St. John and baptism right now is that there are greater things to come. And it's about embracing guilt and shame and moving forward instead of letting this negative society always thwart us — always a more negative society, always more negative.
    • Partly cited in: Linda Weintraub, Arthur Coleman Danto, Thomas McEvilley. Art on the edge and over: searching for art's meaning in contemporary society, 1970s-1990s. Art Insights, Inc., 1996. p. 201; And cited in Kristine Stiles, ‎Peter Howard Selz (1996). Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art: A Sourcebook of Artists' Writings. p. 381
  • Abstraction and luxury are the guard dogs of the upper class. The upper class wants people to have ambition and gumption because, if you do, you will participate and you'll move through society into a different class structure.

Constance Lewellen interview, 1986


Jeff Koons in: "Constance Lewellen interview," in Journal of Contemporary Art, October 1986.

  • The basic story line (in my new work) is about art leaving the realm of the artist, when the artist loses control of the work. It’s defined basically by two ends. One would be Louis XIV — that if you put art in the hands of an aristocracy or monarch, art will become reflective of ego and decorative — and on the other end of the scale would be Bob Hope — that if you give art to the masses, art will become reflective of mass ego and also decorative.
  • Art to me is a humanitarian act, and I believe that there is a responsibility that art should somehow be able to affect mankind, to make the word a better place (this is not a cliche!).
  • I’m basically the idea person. I’m not physically involved in the production. I don’t have the neces-sary abilities, so I go to the top people, whether I’m working with my foundry — Tallix — or in physics. I’m always trying to maintain the integrity of the work.

1990s and later

  • I'm trying to go through moral crisis myself to the highest degree that I can, to remove moral crisis from the visual vocabulary of the viewer, so that when somebody sees my work, the only thing that they see is the Sacred Heart of Jesus
    • Jeff Koons, ‎San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, ‎Walker Art Center (1992). Jeff Koons. p. 103
  • I’ve always enjoyed feeling a connection to the avant-garde, such as Dada and surrealism and pop art. The only thing the artist can do is be honest with themselves and make the art they want to make. That’s what I’ve always done.
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