Friday, April 4, 2008


Jeff Koons, Puppy, Bilbao, 2003

Jeff Koons spoke at Harvard (April 3, 2008) on the subjective and objective nature of art, his obsession with air, and the inherent sexuality contained within all objects. He attributed the success of a work of art to its ability to be 'chameleon,' to adapt to the times. Emphasizing that the contemporary viewer can add new meaning to historical works of art simply by looking and interpreting them.

He also discussed the integrity of the ready-made, and his use of the powerful aesthetic of mass-production to create unique works of art (ironic?). He sees the role of the artist is to manipulate and communicate with the audience and channel information for them. With a Buddhist demeanor, Koons got philosophical and spoke of art as the great connector and the artist as a platform for change, citing self-acceptance as the key to success and transcendence.

When asked about his love of painting he spoke softly of the warmth of the materials and the density of the pigments. He encouraged the audience to increase their parameters and simply follow their ideas, as they will take you somewhere. "Everything is already here, you just have to look for it..." He spoke of art as a form of becoming, a form of love even, and expressed his own desire for dialog and a shared experience. Stating that "everyday art presents itself, you just have to look."

When asked to explain his detachment from the physical construction of his work he replied he is involved in every detail of his pieces. He just chooses not to get lost in the medium/process, but rather focus on the idea and the vision of a work of art. "I can make anything, having the vision is key. If you can see something, you can make it."