Jeff Koons

Today, Emily and I were treated to a tour of Jeff Koons studio.  Wow.  This is not your every day artist studio, this is a serious art shop.  Koons, who I never realized until day, is so incredibly proficient that his work runs the gamut working with a variety of materials to create sculptures as well as oil paintings.  There are 110 people that work in the studio.  Emily and I talked about it afterward, it is as if he is an architect of art.  His staff executes on his visions like a Warhol factory.  Genius. 

 The first area we walked into is where the people mix the paints.  Each color is given a number and there is a crew that literally just creates and mixes the colors.  This particular piece is broken down by number to what color goes where.  Think paint by numbers squared. 

Plaster hospital
We could see through the doorway this hospital looking lab.  There is sculpture going on inside where they are using certain plasters that have chemicals, hence the lab. 

The next area was a variety of objects that Koons is working on for his
next large installation…no photography allowed except for this statue
of a gorilla.  This particular object originally came from a gum ball machine in LAX and Koons decided to bring it to life.  Here it is
in plaster but I believe this was one of the first replicas until it was made in stone.   Just part of the process.

 After leaving that area we walked into a huge room where large canvases were being worked on.  He produces about 6-8 of these a year, each take a serious amount of time.  If they are needed in a hurry, he will have people working on them in shifts over 24 hours.

Painitng not 3d
What is amazing is how the work looks 3D but it isn't.  Needless to say the people working on them are quite talented to be able to do this.  Serious intricate work.

Check out all the different colors.  Makes the Sherwin-Williams paint colors seem juvenile. 

Pool toys
The last room was where the pool toys are replicated.  Only kidding but in reality, yes. 

A total wow.  Koons has had quite an interesting life.  What I did not know is that he became a commodities broker while establishing himself as an artist.  Love that. Certainly his work has made an impact world wide.  His work is in some of the finest museum collections across the globe fetching millions of dollars for each piece.  Seeing how his work is made from start to finish, first hand, was truly a serious treat.  I'd love to see an exhibit of all the artists that work in the lab titled Jeff Koons studio work, literally.  I would imagine it would be a broad range and would be interesting to see all the peoples work behind his. 

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Comments (Archived):

  1. ellen

    I saw a pbs documentary with a chapter on Koons and his “studio” workers making art. It was fascinating. Almost like an assembly line. I was in the kitchen and only half watching and listening but he did some flower sculptures somewhere and they were unbelieveable. Did you read about the Warhol painting that was bought for 385,000 in 1985 and sold for 43.7 ? While I think people should buy art to enjoy it, if you spend 385,000 you want your investment to be there when you sell it.

    1. Gotham Gal

      We definitely buy art to enjoy not to sell but having it hold its value orappreciate it certainly an added bonus. 385 to 43.7 is more than an addedbonus. Then it becomes something you really wonder does it make sense toown anymore but to sell and go back in the market and find something elseyou love and perhaps put a little in the bank!

  2. cookiemoo

    While I do love his work, I have a problem with this “factory” approach to creating art. He is not alone in this, other artists are using this same system. To me, it’s a “dumbing down” of the artist’s work.

    1. Gotham Gal

      It is a different process. There are definitely other artists using the same process and ask the staff not to share that they actually paint on the artists canvas. That is why I feel like the concept of what Koons is doing is being an architect of his art ideas around the factory workers. They are executing on his visions.joanne [email protected]

  3. CCjudy

    Why am I not enrolled in this as art or the work of an artist? It depends on the medium. for Chihuly with his enableability and his medium it works. This tho is different and it is commercial art or commercializing art — for me

  4. Ry Sal

    Check out the Jeff Koons Versailles exhibition from last year – great juxtapostion!

    1. Gotham Gal

      This is really cool. Koons is so sharp.