Jeff Koons is one of the most renowned artists of popular culture. He became the most expensive living artist after the selling of his Rabbit (1986) at Christie’s in 2019 for $91.1 million. But what are art characteristics distinguishing the work of Jeff Koons? Why are his artworks so popular, and how does the artist achieve the “wow effect”?
Art Characteristics Distinguishing the Work of Jeff Koons
In his art, Jeff Koons addresses the themes of human reality. Common objects in his works take on a new meaning. The items that inspire the artist and that are embodied in his sculptures are the objects of mass culture and replications of the “American dream.” Koons puts on the pedestal ordinary things and criticizes them at the same time. This ambivalence is one of the points that attract an audience to his works and make them so sought-after.
Koons’ Balloon Dogs are a bright example because they are simultaneously the symbol of entertainment and an embodiment of a single-use thing with a shiny surface that covers the emptiness.
One of the most obvious Koons art characteristics is the size of his works. They are grotesquely enlarged in their senses and forms. Such an approach allows the artist to divide stuff between real life and his art objects. Hyperbolic sizes speak for themselves and emphasize the meaning that people give to common and simple things. It is a somewhat mockery of the consumer society.
Working experience as a commodities broker on Wall Street had an influence on Koons’ art style. He learned how to sell and show the object in the most attractive way. The forms of his sculptures and installations are bright and catchy and remind a pure marketing ploy. Rabbits, ballerinas, balloons – all these forms are known to everybody and attract the attention as something usual and familiar.
The list of art characteristics distinguishing the work of Jeff Koons would be incomplete without color. Ostentatious colors used by Koons in art emphasize the artificiality of his art objects. They characterize the mass market items that overwhelm store shelves. The main purpose of such products is to be seen and bought.
At the beginning of his career, Jeff Koons was inspired by the art of Marcel Duchamp, Salvador Dali, and Andy Warhol, and it is obvious enough in his work. He combines seemingly simple art characteristics with the ideas of ready-made, surrealism, kitsch, and pop art to create flashy items that are being sold at auctions for record prices.