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.

NARRATOR: Koons has made this Lifeboat out of an unlikely material: bronze. Curator Scott Rothkopf.

SCOTT ROTHKOPF: The cast bronze sculptures in the Equilibrium series are all complicated as images because, of course, they depict inflatable objects, or snorkels, devices that should help you breathe, or float you, or devices that should help save you, and yet because they're cast out of bronze they're quite heavy, and in fact they would sink.

So this raft that you see here has a permanent inflatedness. It could never be popped, it could never lose its air, because, of course, the artist has rendered it from a soft, ephemeral material and say into something that is permanent, and yet in so doing, he's turned it into a haunting image of a certain death rather than salvation.

NARRATOR: Koons had intended for The New, the series he made right before Equilibrium, to examine newness as an “ultimate state of being.” In his Equilibrium series, Koons explores another such state. The cast bronzes suggest that even if perfect equilibrium is deeply desirable, it’s finally impossible.

More Audio Guides

Mary Corse: A Survey in Light audio guide
Nick Mauss: Transmissions audio guide
Between the Waters audio guide
Grant Wood: American Gothic and Other Fables audio guide
Juan Antonio Olivares audio guide
Laura Owens audio guide