Koons on his banal subject matter
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.
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