Jeff Koons: A Retrospective
Audio Guide Playlist

This audio guide features commentary by artist Jeff Koons, Scott Rothkopf, the Whitney's Nancy and Steve Crown Family Curator and Associate Director of Programs, Michelle Kuo, editor of Artforum magazine, and Amy Adler, the Emily Kempin Professor at New York University Law School.


JEFF KOONS: One Balloon Dog's red and the other one could be yellow. When you put color on the metal, it gives it more of an internal life. If you don't have any coating on stainless steel, it's very all-surface. Everything bounces right off and there's no really kind of depth within the piece. The Balloon Dog's like a Trojan horse. There's something inside.

A piece like the Balloon Dog connects us a little bit, not consciously but subconsciously, back to Paleolithic times and back to really primitive life. We have balloons today and they're made out of some type of latex material, but in more of a primitive, past time, it would probably be from intestine. There's this very, very primitive, archetypal aspect taking place about what it means to be human.

When I made the Celebration work, it was also during a very trying time, personally for me. Because my son was taken back to Rome and I did not have the ability, really, to be communicating with him, so I felt that I'd be able to show him just how much I was thinking about him also through my artworks.

NARRATOR: The Celebration works represent a loose annual cycle, suggesting holidays, birthday parties, and other milestones. 

JK: I was balancing in creating works that I could be, in a way, having a very personal dialogue with, but still making very objective works that would have still very, very meaningful and archetypal references to the viewer.


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