Wallpaper* guest editor Jeff Koons discusses the nature of fame and becoming a brand
With the October issue of Wallpaper* issue going on sale around the globe from 13 September, we take a look at one of our special guest editors, the legendary artist that is Jeff Koons. Don't miss all three issues, guest-edited by Jeff Koons, Hedi Slimane and Dieter Rams.
Jeff Koons is the most written about artist in the world. He says so himself, he's not wrong and is proud of the fact. The interplay of art, of fame, celebrity, taste and money are Koons' concern. And like Warhol, his persona - blank, chilly and slightly chilling - frames his art (we can assure you though that Koons is none of these).
Born in Pennsylvania in 1955, by the age of eight Koons was copying old masters and selling them at his father's furniture store. By the early 1980s he was an art superstar. His breakthrough work was 1985's 'Three Ball 50/50 Tank', three basketballs floating in a tank, but he quickly moved towards a more extravagant conceptual pop style. He is famous for his balloon animals cast in highly polished stainless steel or porcelain or PVC, but perhaps best known for 'Michael Jackson and Bubbles' of 1988, a life-sized ceramic rendering of Jackson and his pet chimpanzee.
Koons works from his well-manned Chelsea super studio in New York - all his works are created by a team of 80-odd assistants or outsourced to European craftsmen. This summer he presented a new series of paintings 'Hulk Elvis', at the Gagosian gallery in London's Kings Cross. He is planning to suspend a full-scale 161-foot replica of a Baldwin locomotive above the entrance to Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Koons' edition of Wallpaper* includes an extraordinary 16-page artwork inspired by his passion for legendary rock band Led Zeppelin. He commissioned a leading cultural theorist to deconstruct the Zeppelin myth, and in conversation with Stella McCartney, discusses the nature of fame, becoming a brand, and ... vaginas. His cover is an original and controversial collectable work of art.
Speaking of his turn in the editor's chair he said, 'It's a pleasure to work with Wallpaper*. It's a great magazine that touches on so many areas of life and aesthetics.'