JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY ART
New York City, October 1986
Klaus Ottmann: What is the theme of your new work?
Jeff Koons: The basic story line 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 reflec-tive 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. The body of work is based around statuary representing different periods of Western European art. Each work in the show is coded to be more or less specific about art being used as a symbol or representation of a certain theme that takes place in art, such as Doctor’s Delight, a symbol of sexuality in art; Two Kids, of morality in art; Rabbit, of fantasy in art. Italian Woman would be a symbol of the artist going after beauty; Flowers would be art being used to show elegance and the strength of money; Louis XIV is power, a sym-bol of using art as an authoritarian means; Trolls, a symbol of mythology.
Ottmann: What is your main interest as an artist?
Koons: I’m interested in the morality of what it means to be an artist, with what art means to me, how it defines my life, etc. And my next concern is my actions, the responsibility of my own actions in art with regard to other artists, and then to a wider range of the art audience, such as critics, museum people, collectors, etc. Art to me is a humanitarian act, and I be-lieve 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!).
Ottmann: Where do you get the ideas for your work?
Koons: It’s a natural process. Generally I walk around and I see one object and it affects me. I can’t just choose any object or any theme to work with. I can be confronted by an object and be interested in a specific thing about it, and the context develops simultane-ously. I never try to create a context artificially. I think about my work every minute of the day.