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‘Some People Think What I’ve Done Is Almost Sacrilege’: A Talk with Jeff Koons

Bill Powers: How do you see the “Gazing Ball” paintings as being on a continuum with the “Gazing Ball” sculptures?

Jeff Koons: With the sculpture, you feel a constant polarity between the biological and Platonism. The sculpture also places an emphasis on form. With the paintings, you have a more ancient dialogue. You think of going through the Lascaux caves, where a bison painted on the contour of a rock formation emphasizes the three-dimensional quality of the drawing. Or if you think about antique sculpture—everything was painted, so the two-dimensional and the three-dimensional were brought together. The “Gazing Ball” paintings have that same confrontation. There’s a dialogue taking place about the humanism of art and how important connectivity is in our lives. I wanted to make work that would add to the dialogue of the readymade and the concept of objective art.

BP: What do you mean by “objective art”?

JK: Things that are externalized. The idea of the readymade is an outside object, outside the body. Everything is like a Klein bottle, where the inside becomes the outside and vice versa. Picasso’s work is completely objective. It goes full circle, the objective becomes the subjective...

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