Jeff Koons at NAEA17

It was personally satisfying to hear Jeff Koons present his work this morning. 

For six years early in my teaching career I worked with another art teacher who had very strong feelings about the work of Koons and most of what I know about him is based on (and tainted by) conversations with my colleague. 

I listened with an interest in getting a new impression and here are my big take always:

  1. Koons is sincerely interested in exploring and communicating meaningful Ideas through his work. I respect that. He is deeply philosophical and seems drawn to concepts including philosophy and metaphysics, the life cycle, equilibrium, and control (or the lack of control)
  2. Ironically, his retelling of his experiences as a young art student seem in conflict to what he has become (but maybe I made too much of what he said). He described how he had such anxiety about knowing almost nothing about the art world when he went to a Baltimore museum for his MICA coursework. It seemed that he came to the decision to create work that was different — that would not expect too much from his viewers. Indeed, he believes that the viewer completes the work. Yet descriptions of his own work are loaded with art historical references. The connectivity of ideas seems so important, but the average viewer or a young art student would not know enough to understand all he intends. 

All said, it was fascinating to hear from this icon of an artist. Stay tuned for more highlights!


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