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: The sculpture in the middle of the room is called Split-Rocker (Orange/Red)


JEFF KOONS: Split Rocker's an interesting piece, because it actually comes from a little rocking horse that I always had in my bedroom at my house, which was my son Ludwig's.


NARRATOR: Ludwig was born to Koons and Staller in 1992; they divorced soon after. 


JK: Ludwig was abducted from my home, through a parental abduction, through my ex-wife. His mother took him to Italy. I always tried to get Ludwig back to the United States, but I was never able to. He had this blue pony rocking horse, and I would look at it and I would always want to divide it down the middle and to take another rocker that I saw at a children's store, which was of an animated dinosaur. To put the bar, the rocking horse-type bar that was through their heads, just put it through both of them to hold them together.


For me, the piece, I'm sure it represents this division between myself and my ex-wife and the type of strife that it could have on our child, on Ludwig. But at the same time I think it's referencing Picasso's work, because the one eye of the one pony is looking this way, the eye of the dino is looking another way, and of Roy Lichtenstein. Roy's flat, two-dimensional sculptures, because that split is completely flat.

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