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Jeff Koons in "Fantasy"

“Art should be something really powerful,” says Jeff Koons, “but at the same time, there’s morality that comes along with that.” The segment begins in the artist’s busy studio in Manhattan, where his computer-aided but hand-made paintings and sculptures develop slowly, with a large team of dedicated assistants, in the manner of a Renaissance workshop or atelier.

The segment shifts to a major retrospective at the MCA Chicago, where Koons provides a detailed analysis of two sculptures that exemplify the ethical and spiritual dimensions of art. The segment concludes outside Paris at the Chateau de Versailles, where Koons is the first contemporary American artist to have a solo exhibition, showcasing the mathematical planting of a giant flower topiary and a survey of works installed amidst the joyous decoration of the palace’s period rooms and gardens.

More information and credits


Created by: Susan Sollins & Susan Dowling. Executive Producer & Curator: Susan Sollins. Series Producer: Eve-Laure Moros Ortega. Associate Producer: Migs Wright. Associate Curator: Wesley Miller. Production Manager: Nick Ravich. Production Coordinator: Larissa Nikola-Lisa. Consulting Director: Catherine Tatge. Editor: Mark Sutton. Director of Photography: Takahisa Araki, Martial Barrault, Kurt Branstetter, Robert Elfstrom, Mark Falstad, Miguel Sanchez-Martin, Ian Serfontein, & Joel Shapiro. Additional Photography: Frank Dellario, Brian Hwang, & Clair Popkin. Sound: Tom Bergin, Ray Day, Steve “Major” Giammaria, Heidi Hesse, Mark Mandler, Roger Phenix, & Paul Stadden. Assistant Camera: Agnès Jammal, Jin Long Nan, Clair Popkin, Nick Skolnick, Adriano Vasquez, & Jean-Pierre Vial. Grip: Scott Barhends & Bill Frye. Field Producer: David Howe. Cao Fei Interview & Translation: Phil Tinari & Xiaotong Wang.

Creative Consultant: Ed Sherin. Art Direction & Design: Open, New York. Graphics Animation: Maurice Caicedo & Urosh Perishic. On-Line Editor: Don Wyllie. Composer: Peter Foley. Voice-Over Artist: Jace Alexander. Sound Editing: Margaret Crimmins & Greg Smith. Sound Mix: Cory Melious. Artwork Animation: Frank Ferrigno. Assistant Editor: Ahmed Amer, Janine Cappadona, Paulo Padilha, Joaquin Perez, Leana Siochi, & Ken Yapelli.

Artworks Courtesy of: Cao Fei; Mary Heilmann; Jeff Koons; Florian Maier-Aichen; 303 Gallery, New York; Blum & Poe, Los Angeles; Lombard-Freid Projects, New York; Pace Prints, New York; & RMB City 2009.

Special Thanks: The Art21 Board of Trustees; Michael Ashburn; Sarah Barasch; Travis Call; Pat Carney; Pat Casteel and Steve Wylie; Chåteau de Versailles Spectacles; Xixi Chen; Ralph Cuccurullo; Samantha Culp; Jill Davis; Dog Bark Sound; Tom Donnelly; Jessica Eisenthal; L’Etablissement Public du musée et du domaine national de Versailles; Frame:Runner, NYC; Alexandra Gaty; Simon Greenberg; Elizabeth Hull; Jeff Koons Studio, New York; Lu Jia; Tomoko Kimata; Sarah Kohn; Venus Lau; Mengxian Li; Karla Loring; Amy Lukas; Sheila Lynch; Carlin Mayer; Mariko Munro; Renée Martin; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Erik Pepple; Heather Rasmussen; Andre Ribuoli; RMB City Studio, Beijing; Lauran Rothstein; Nancy Schindele; Susan Schneider; Kathrin Schweizer; Serpentine Gallery, London; Keith Shapiro; Karen Simonian; Sound Lounge; John Steele; Kelsey Sundberg; Liane Thatcher; Fleur Treglown; Vitamin Creative Space, Beijing; Tony Volante; Amy Wenzel; & Wexner Center for the Arts.

Additional Art21 Staff: Beth Allen, Mary Cook, Joe Fusaro, Jessica Hamlin, Jennifer H. Lee, Marc Mayer, Jonathan Munar, Katherine Payne, Kelly Shindler, & Sara Simonson.

Interns: Maggie Bordonaro, Krystle DeMauro, Natalia P. Good, Sophie Grant, Pinchang Huang, Joy Lai, Rachele Lam, Jamie Leonardi, Melanie K. Mambo, Pauli Ochi, Sara Odam, David Roesing, Nicole Ross, Nicole Sansone, & Julia Wright.

Public Relations: Goodman Media International. Station Relations: De Shields Associates, Inc. Legal Counsel: Albert Gottesman. Bookkeeper: Valerie Riley. Travel Agent: Lita Gottesman.

Major underwriting for Art in the Twenty-First Century Season Five provided by: National Endowment for the Arts; Public Broadcasting Service; Agnes Gund; Bloomberg; The Nathan Cummings Foundation; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; The Broad Art Foundation; Korea Foundation; & The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation.

Closed captionsAvailable in English, German, Romanian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian

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Jeff Koons

Jeff Koons plucks images and objects from popular culture, framing questions about taste and pleasure. His contextual sleight-of-hand, which transforms banal items into sumptuous icons, takes on a psychological dimension through dramatic shifts in scale, spectacularly engineered surfaces, and subliminal allegories of animals, humans, and anthropomorphized objects. Organizing his own studio production in a manner that rivals a Renaissance workshop, Koons makes computer-assisted, handcrafted works that communicate through their meticulous attention to detail.

“Objects are metaphors for people—it always turns out to be about others. It’s not about accepting that object…it’s about the acceptance of others.”

Jeff Koons

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Jeff Koons

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Art Changes Every Day

In this interview, Jeff Koons talks about his relationship with art, his exhibition at the Château de Versailles, and misrepresentations of his work.

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