Jeff Koons

Topics: Trojan War, Modern art, Modernism Pages: 5 (1740 words) Published: August 11, 2013
Jeff Koons’ Balloon Dog (Yellow)

This essay discusses the sculpture Balloon Dog (yellow) (1994-2000) by American artist Jeffrey Lynn Koons (b.1955). I will explain how Koons uses the Balloon Dog (yellow) to talk about both childhood experience and sexuality, and uses these ideas to manipulate the viewers’ emotion.

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Jeff Koons, 1994-2000, Balloon Dog (Yellow), [High chromium stainless steel with transparent color coating, 121 x 143 x 45 inches, 307.3 x 363.2 x 114.3 cm], The Steven and Alexandra Cohen Collection, Connecticut, CT

Looking at the shape of the 10 pieces of high chromium stainless steel, I can imagine a condom rather than a sausage because blowing a balloon looks like blowing a condom. I believe that I am correct in the influence of Koon’s balloon dog, “My work is about using sexuality as a tool to communicate.” (Koons, 1992, P.36) There are lots of sexuality in Koons’ art work, such as the Doctor’s Delight (1986) and the whole series of Made in Heaven (1989-1991). I think it is very clever that he uses sexuality as a tool to capture the viewers’ desire and exploit his viewers to develop his art work in their mind. Who does not have sexuality? Even a Chinese castrated eunuch would read an Erotic figure. As Koons’ father, Henry J Koons was an interior decorator; I had a thought that his father had influenced Koons’ art work. For the idea of emotion is very important for an interior decorate design. On a different level, Koons’ balloon dog can manipulate his viewers’ emotion. If you only look at a single piece of high chromium stainless steel, what would you feel? The pure sex is the only idea brings into my head because the smooth and tight surface of the high chromium stainless steel looks like two people are, skin to skin, having sex. In another way, the shape of the sculpture is giving me the optimistic and happy impression because the sculpture is in a balloon dog shape; I would imagine the party and celebration which are very positive. Also, comparing a real balloon dog and the balloon dog sculpture, I can see the sculpture is bigger than the real balloon dog. Another difference between the real and sculpture balloon dog is, soft and hard. ‘Hard’ and ‘Big’, these two adjective make me think of a male genital. Again! Koons successfully exploits my thoughts. He can use sexuality as a tool to communicate with his viewer. This communication has already beyond human dialogue. It is using mind and feeling to communicate. After all, the standing pose of the balloon dog has reminded me there is a condom brand called Trojan.

One of the ideas that interested me is, the pose of the balloon dog sculpture is standing upright like the Trojan Horse. Trojan Horse is a mythological story which is about the Greeks used to enter the city of Troy and end the Trojan War. The Greeks built a huge wood horse and hid a lot of strong soldiers inside. They pretended they were giving the horse as a surrender gift for the Trojans so the Trojans pulled the horse into their city. At mid-night, the Greeks soldiers came out from the horse and destroyed the city of Troy. This story is full of irony but Koons says “A viewer might at first see irony in my work, but I see none at all.” (Koons, 1992, P.33) I agree with Koons. In fact, there are lots satirical art works since World War I, it might give people the wrong impression of art. My first impression on the Balloon Dog (yellow) was happy and interesting. However, is there any hidden idea? As the Balloon Dog (yellow) is empty inside, just like the soldiers hiding inside the Trojan Horse and they have a really strong killing desire in their mind. I think the viewers will have a big impaction given by the visual effect because the surface has a reflective effect and the shape is a party dog. They remind me of feelings, memories and desires in a party or places where I have seen the balloon dog. I could remember the first time I saw a soft, little balloon dog in a birthday...

Bibliography: Coles, S. & Violette, R.(1992). The Jeff Koons Handbook: London, England: Thames & Hudson Limited.
Duray, D. (2012). Jeff Koons Explains Balloon Dogs at P.S. 112. Retrieved from http://galleristny.com/2012/06/jeff-koons-explains-balloon-dogs-at-p-s-112/
Gleadell, C
Johnson, K. (2008). A Panoramic Backdrop for Meaning and Mischief. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/22/arts/design/22koon.html?_r=0
Muthesius, A
Taylor, B. (2005). Contemporary Art: Art Since 1970. London, England: Laurence King Publishing Ltd.
Terry, A.(1988). Jeff Koons. Chicago, IL: Museum of Contemporary Art.
Tobler, K. (2012). Jeff Koons, Mastering The Art Of Artificiality. Retrieved from http://worldcrunch.com/culture-society/jeff-koons-mastering-the-art-of-artificiality/c3s5325/
Reference
Coles, S. & Violette, R. (1992). The Jeff Koons Handbook: London, England: Thames & Hudson Limited.
Duray, D. (2012). Jeff Koons Explains Balloon Dogs at P.S. 112. Retrieved from http://galleristny.com/2012/06/jeff-koons-explains-balloon-dogs-at-p-s-112/
Sylvester, D.,& Rosenblum, R
Taylor, B. (2005). Contemporary Art: Art Since 1970. London, England: Laurence King Publishing Ltd.
Tobler, K. (2012). Jeff Koons, Mastering The Art Of Artificiality. [Image] Retrieved from http://worldcrunch.com/culture-society/jeff-koons-mastering-the-art-of-artificiality/c3s5325/
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