Jeff Koons on the Power of Art History

Matthew Israel
Jun 5, 2014 6:02PM
Metallic Venus, 2010-2012
Gagosian Gallery

In this month’s Art in America, in its "Muse" section, Jeff Koons contributes the essay, "Feeling." Obviously I am biased but I personally loved the parts where Koons credits art history for helping him understand the power of art. 

Koons explains:

"I grew up in Pennsylvania. My father was an interior decorator. He taught me about aesthetics, colors, textures: things that affect the way you feel. As a socially mobile family we had a wide range of experiences. Still, I never spent a lot of time in art museums, apart from some visits to the Philadelphia Museum of Art with my aunt. When you’re young, art is just something you can do. I really didn’t become aware of art’s power to unite all the different disciplines until I was in college—the first day of college, more or less. I had a real art history course, and there I realized that art was referencing philosophy and sociology and physics and aesthetics—all the disciplines, effortlessly connected."

And later, towards the end of the essay, he writes:

"I like to think of art history as putting a needle through kernels of popcorn and stringing them together. That threading mirrors human biology, the way chains of DNA connect—the truest narrative."

(Jeff Koons, “Feeling,” Art in America, June/July 2014, 40-42.)

Matthew Israel