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