Jeff Koons on Balloon Dog (Yellow), 1994–2000

Jeff Koons discusses his work Balloon Dog (Yellow), included in Jeff Koons a Retrospective (June 27–October 19, 2014).

Jeff Koons: Balloon Dog is part of the Celebration series. When I made that body of work I really wanted to make images and objects that were archetypal. And so when I look at the Balloon Dog, even though it’s a dog, it’s a little bit like an equestrian piece to it; it’s like the Trojan Horse. So I wanted to make something mythic, something that is larger; it’s about communal history.


It’s a little larger than ourselves, but yet has contact in our own life. One of the things that’s amazing about Balloon Dog, you look at it, the surface is—it’s shiny, and it’s made to survive; it’s stainless steel, so there’s a firmness about it. But at the same time you have all the details, you have, know you, all the knots where they’re twisted; you have the sense of membrane. And that part of membrane I think helps tie it to the human condition, of kind of flesh.


Of course the piece is anthropomorphic. It’s relating to being a human being. You know, we take a breath (inhales), it’s a symbol of optimism. And the Balloon Dog, it’s optimistic, eternally optimistic in its own being. When you exhale (exhales), our last breath is a symbol of death.