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.

SCOTT ROTHKOPF: Louis XIV is based on a famous bust depicting the Sun King of France, who's most known today for having built Versailles.

What you see here is Koons having made a cast out of stainless steel, which is a cheap metal, used more commonly for pots and pans than in fine sculpture, to render this image of a ruler, of a monarch, at the height of his absolute power.

NARRATOR: Koons has given all of the works in this series, which he called Statuary, the same treatment. In doing so, he’s flattened the difference between the Sun King, Bob Hope, and a troll figurine, among others. He’s also erased any distinctions between fine art and kitsch.

At the same time, Koons has accorded each of these objects the utmost respect. He was absolutely meticulous in translating the original models for these works into stainless steel.

JEFF KOONS: To me it was really important to maintain every nuance, authenticity of the object. Not to be manipulating it, not to try to add anything that I saw as a perfection or to take away any imperfection, but to accept that object completely as it is, and to be sure to capture that and not to alter anything. When I would be working with the foundry, I would want to be sure that they would spend as much attention in casting the bottom of the object and in finishing the bottom of the object which no one would ever see as to the very front or the main surface pointing forward on an object.

It's about showing a moral responsibility to the viewer, so that the viewer can trust in the communication between the two of us.

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