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5.9.05

Jeff Koons Interview

Also on Ionarts:

Jean Nouvel Interview (August 30, 2005)

Robert Rauschenberg Interview (August 29, 2005)

Michel Legrand Interview (August 26, 2005)

Anselm Kiefer Interview (August 16, 2005)

Dessay and Solfege (August 9, 2005)

Stockhausen and the Number 6 (August 9, 2005)

Nicolas Joel Angling to Go to Paris? (July 3, 2005)
If critics hate Jeff Koons, why have his works been selling at record prices for the last five years? He was in Paris for the opening of a group exhibit featuring his work, Translation, at the Palais de Tokyo (ends on September 18). While he was visiting his gallery in Paris, Jérôme de Noirmont, the artist gave an interview (Jeff Koons : "La sexualité, c'est l'objet principal de l'art", August 31) to Harry Bellet for Le Monde, and here a few excerpts (my translation):
Your last work, exhibited by Gagosian Gallery at Art Basel, depicted an enormous diamond. How would you explain it?

Green Diamond is part of the series Celebration, which began in 1994. It's a group based on the calendar of holidays: vacations, birthdays, Valentine's Day, Easter. The diamond is seven feet wide (210 cm). The stone is attached to a ring by four prongs. For me, the prongs are like sperm attacking an ovum. The facets of the diamond are the egg in the process of being fertilized.

Is all your work about sex?

Sexuality is the principal object of art. It's about the preservation of the species. Procreation is a priority. But this also has a spiritual aspect for me. It's about the way that we have children. [...] When I was in college, I became very interested in Dada and Surrealism. But my introduction to ready-mades released me from a personal iconography and led me toward mass iconography, more universal.

Did you meet Duchamp?

I never met Duchamp, but I did meet Dalí, whose work I loved. When I was still in art school, I went to New York and heard that Dalí was living in the Saint-Regis Hotel. I called him, and he said we should meet. This was in 1972 or 1973. The impression he left me with is the opposite of what is commonly repeated about him. He was generous when everyone called him greedy. Generous with his time, with his soul. It was fantastic for me to discover that people could actually lead this life. To understand that the art world was an incredible community. Sure, you can sometimes see only the greedy side, the money, the profiteers. But it's also a community interested in sharing, in mutual support, in the communication of ideas. You meet people from all disciplines, philosophy, psychology. It's a 360-degree view on the world.
For most of the interview, Bellet asks, in a nice, intellectualized way, what the hell various pieces of Koons's are all about. Is it a coincidence that both the National Gallery of Art and the Corcoran, have never acquired a work by Koons? In fact, the only Koons I know of in Washington is the Kiepenkerl sculpture in the Hirshhorn. However, there are plenty of museums around the world that have collected Koons, too. In fact, French billionaire François Pinault is probably the most important collector of Koons in the world, and his new museum (now planned for Venice instead of outside Paris) will reportedly open with a Koons retrospective.

1 comment:

Liz Weber said...

If you want to meet Jeff Koons and get a private tour of his studio, led by the man himself, you can bid on the chance at www.charitybuzz.com. The auction ends on March 6, 2008.