Jeff Koons
Michael Jackson and Bubbles, 1988

This artwork was featured in New Work: A New Generation. Learn more about SFMOMA’s New Work series.

Artwork Info

Artwork title
Michael Jackson and Bubbles
Artist name
Jeff Koons
Date created
ceramic, glaze and paint
42 in. × 70 1/2 in. × 32 1/2 in. (106.68 cm × 179.07 cm × 82.55 cm)
Date acquired
Collection SFMOMA
Purchase through the Marian and Bernard Messenger Fund and restricted funds
© Jeff Koons
Permanent URL
Artwork status
Not on view at this time.

Audio Stories

Koons on his banal subject matter

Show TranscriptHide Transcript



Jeff Koons’s father was an interior decorator, and the artist’s interest in everyday objects comes in part from childhood memories of constantly changing environments. This porcelain sculpture of Michael Jackson and the chimpanzee Bubbles is from the series Banality. Here’s Jeff Koons from a public talk in 1993:  



I made my Banality show in 1988. The bourgeois class, what motivates that class, is banality. It’s dislocated imagery. And they understand that. It’s part of their—their past, it’s part of their history. But they feel guilt and shame. They think they should respond to something else. They think they should be something other than their own past. And I was telling them to embrace that. 

And I wanted to create a Garden of Eden. And I wanted to liberate people, to remove their guilt and shame. So they’re looking for debasement. And I always am willing to provide them that. But my work never speaks down to anybody. If anything, the viewer always feels maybe even above it.  

But I always loved the radicality of Michael Jackson, that he would do absolutely anything that was necessary to be able to communicate to people. And with his Bubbles there, it was that he won’t even wait for evolution. He’s not gonna wait for a normal time period we’re just gonna go do it.  

Read MoreCollapse

Other Works by Jeff Koons

Please note that artwork locations are subject to change, and not all works are on view at all times. If you are planning a visit to SFMOMA to see a specific work of art, we suggest you contact us at collections@sfmoma.org to confirm it will be on view.

Only a portion of SFMOMA's collection is currently online, and the information presented here is subject to revision. Please contact us at collections@sfmoma.org to verify collection holdings and artwork information. If you are interested in receiving a high resolution image of an artwork for educational, scholarly, or publication purposes, please contact us at copyright@sfmoma.org.

This resource is for educational use and its contents may not be reproduced without permission. Please review our Terms of Use for more information.