America’s Contemporary Multimedia Artist Jeff Koons

874 (2 pages)
Download for Free
Important: This sample is for inspiration and reference only

Jeff Koons is one of America’s most popular contemporary multimedia artists, who believes that art can change lives, give vastness and expand your parameters. Koons was born in York, Pennsylvania in 1955. He studied at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Jeff currently lives and works in New York City. The artist is best known for his oversized, reflective and hyperrealistic sculptures of everyday objects e.g., balloon dogs, jewelry, and tulips called the Celebration series (1994- ). The collection pays tribute to life’s big milestones, such as birthdays and weddings. 

The sculptures are made of mirror-polished stainless steel with transparent colour coating. The innovative use of media in Koon’s art pieces reflects the experimental approach, in terms of styles and techniques, which postmodernists tried to emphasise in their body of work. Eckhard Schneider, German art critic, stated: “hardly another contemporary artist believes so strongly in the power of the surfaces as a reflection of the universal and of our world. This enthusiasm for the reflective power of materials and the play of light have from the very beginning been the ingredients in this seductive potion which makes up the aesthetic sensations of Koon’s work” (Koons, 2002, p.17). 

In order to have a better understanding of the artist’s “obsession” with coloured, reflective surfaces, I dug deeper and came across one of the artist’s interviews, in which Koons described the smooth, reflective surface of those monuments as “an affirmation that a viewer’s participation is necessary because when a viewer moves, the reflection changes”. That is how the artist supposedly allows a viewer to have a greater sense of their own potential through interacting with his work. It is a very interesting approach with a deep and personal meaning, considering the fact that the artist uses extremely banal objects e.g., balloon dogs as the subject matter. In my opinion, that is the beauty of Koon’s work – his ability to make something extremely banal into something important and intriguing. 

No time to compare samples?
Hire a Writer

✓Full confidentiality ✓No hidden charges ✓No plagiarism

That aspect of Jeff Koon’s art pieces clearly represents the ideology and the concept of postmodernism, which are about forming a dialogue between an artist and a viewer and discovering new ways of seeing. At the end of the 19th century, Professor Riegl discovered a new psychological aspect of art called the “beholder’s share”. The phenomenon suggests that “art is not complete without the direct involvement of the viewer who interprets what he or she sees on the canvas in personal terms, thereby adding meaning to the picture”(Kandel, 2012, p.189-190). To some extent Koon’s reflective sculptures could be seen as interpretations of Riegl’s theory. When you look at the balloon dog sculpture you see yourself in it, whether you want to or not and become part of the art work.

Interestingly, Koons’ Celebration was not the only body of work which reflected the theory proposed by Riegl. In 2013 the provocative artist presented a series of sculptures called the “Gazing balls”. Two years later Koons expanded the collection by adding paintings and prints into it. In the series the artist recreated classical masterpieces, including Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Titian’s Diana and Actaeon and Klimt’s Kiss and added blue spheres that were made out of aluminum and glass to the replicas. Again, through the act of placing a reflective element into his art pieces, Koons incorporated the “beholder”, in other words the viewer, into the paintings and sculptures. In addition, the juxtaposition of old and new in the series covers another aspect of postmodernism, which is defines as appropriation. 

The art term that defines the act of using existing images or ideas as one’s own. The strategy of transforming or altering existing objects traces back to Duchamp’s Readymades (1915) and Picasso’s cubist collages (1912). Even though the technique has been extensively practiced over the years by many artists, some people argue that “appropriation” is not art as the ideas are intentionally copied from the popular culture. Therefore, such recontextualisation raises questions of originality and authenticity. However,

Despite presenting symbolic statements in many of Jeff Koons’ works, he is often dismissed as cynical and superficial by art critics and the general public. Kitsch would be the word that is quite commonly used when referring to the artist’s work. “Kitsch might be defined as rubbish-with-attitude. It is bad taste with pretensions, stuff bought by people who think they know, but do not really.” (Wheale, 1995, p.48). Some people might feel that the artist’s work lacks all the give and the breadth of fresh art. 

However, it could be argued that Jeff Koons potentially became the icon of postmodernism because of his so called “bad taste”, and a sophisticated understanding of media and advertising which are other significant characteristics of the controversial art movement. Not to mention the fact that kitsch is one of the elements of postmodern culture, alongside schlock and camp. As I have mentioned earlier, postmodern art was about questioning the established ideas of the art and design world. If people do not understand an artist’s work, they will naturally start questioning it. As Damien Hirst stated: “a lot of people think artists have to give answers, but they do not - they raise questions that enable you to find an answer a viewer.” 

You can receive your plagiarism free paper on any topic in 3 hours!

*minimum deadline

Cite this Essay

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below

Copy to Clipboard
America’s Contemporary Multimedia Artist Jeff Koons. (2022, February 23). WritingBros. Retrieved September 22, 2023, from
“America’s Contemporary Multimedia Artist Jeff Koons.” WritingBros, 23 Feb. 2022,
America’s Contemporary Multimedia Artist Jeff Koons. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 22 Sept. 2023].
America’s Contemporary Multimedia Artist Jeff Koons [Internet]. WritingBros. 2022 Feb 23 [cited 2023 Sept 22]. Available from:
Copy to Clipboard

Need writing help?

You can always rely on us no matter what type of paper you need

Order My Paper

*No hidden charges