11 Outlandish Jeff Koons Quotes in Honor of His 61st Birthday

He's unstoppable.

Jeff Koons.
Photo: Courtesy Patrick McMullan.

Love him or hate him, artist Jeff Koons has shaped contemporary art in profound ways over the course of the past few decades. So forget his ongoing legal woes, his predilection for appearing in the nude, and whatever you thought about his blockbuster Whitney Museum retrospective and unpopular public sculptures, and focus instead on all the wonderfully weird quotes the 61-year-old artist has given us over the years.

On Irony:
“A viewer might at first see irony in my work… but I see none at all. Irony causes too much critical contemplation.”
Jeff Koons Handbook, 1993

On Sensuality:
“I believe in sensuality. I believe in sex. I believe in the survival of the species.”
Interview magazine, 2009

On Soho’s magnetic reach:
“I live down in the Wall Street area only for exclusion, so that I don’t have to walk out on the street and be confronted with SoHo or run into a specific dealer, and so on.”
Flash Art, 1987

On Bubbles, his sculpture of Michael Jackson:
“Michael was there as a contemporary Christ. If you look at the sculpture, it actually is like the Pietà. It has the same configuration, the triangular aspect, so it’s making reference to that. He is there like a contemporary Christ figure to assure people that it’s okay.”
Interview magazine, 2012

On commercialism:
“I love the gallery, the arena of representation. It’s a commercial world, and morality is based generally around economics, and that’s taking place in the art gallery.”
Journal of Contemporary Art, 1986

Jeff Koons, <em>Ilona on Top (Rosa Background)</em>. <br> Photo: Jeff Koons.

Jeff Koons, Ilona on Top (Rosa Background).
Photo: Courtesy Whitney Museum of American Art.

On becoming one with art:
“I have seen how works of art can be used against people, how they can be demanding and intimidating, by the suggestion that you can’t enjoy or understand them unless you have read this piece of literature, or know that piece of mythology. It is total disempowerment. But art has the ability to achieve the absolute opposite of that.”
Financial Times, 2009

On becoming one with ourselves:
“We all have the same pleasures and desires, I just think that some people are more protective and shelter themselves from their experiences, especially if it’s sexuality, the foundation of our life experience. ”
Time Out London, 2009.

On how he is Number One:
“My art and my life are totally one. I have everything at my disposal and I’m doing what I want to do. I have my platform, I have the attention. This is the time for Jeff Koons.”
Jeff Koons Handbook, 1993

On the second law of thermodynamics:
“I envisage the formation of a total society where every citizen will be of the blue blood. In such a society the individual will exist in a state of entropy, or rest, and will inhabit an environment decorated with object art that is beyond critical dialogue.”
Flash Art, 1987

Artist Jeff Koons poses next to one of his sculptures during a press preview of "Jeff Koons: A Retrospective" a exhibition of his work at the Whitney Museum of American Art June 24, 2014. Photo: Timothy A. Clary /AFP/Getty Images.

Artist Jeff Koons poses next to one of his sculptures during a press preview of “Jeff Koons: A Retrospective” a exhibition of his work at the Whitney Museum of American Art June 24, 2014.
Photo: Timothy A. Clary /AFP/Getty Images.

On the dangers of luxury goods:
“I think there is a misunderstanding about my work that it’s about product and consumerism. Somebody recently came to me and asked if I could design a bookstore, but that’s not for me. I never did anything to create this other persona, even in the bodies of work that dealt with luxury and degradation where I warned people not to pursue luxury because it was like the alcoholic falling under the control of alcohol. It’s confusing the messenger with the message.”
Time Out London, 2009.

On the word kitsch:
“When you use words like that, it feels like people are throwing tomatoes at me. These words reflect segregation and judgment, and I don’t believe in judgment.”
Financial Times, 2009

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.
Article topics