Electronic Thesis/Dissertation


Jeff Koons Open Access

Jeff Koons The purpose of this thesis is to recognize a shift in the artwork of Jeff Koons around year 1992 by way of establishing two distinct periods of the artist's career, pre- and post- 1992. A successful New York artist in the early 1980's, Jeff Koons's career spiraled downward in 1989. In 1992 and the following years, Koons was able to recover and boost his profile to superstardom. I explain this transformation in Koons's career by investigating the period between 1989 and 1992, comparing critical reviews of the artwork in each of the two periods. Additionally, I illustrate the differences between the works created from the two periods by providing descriptions and examples of individual pieces. Koons typically works in series. Therefore I rely heavily on the series produced directly before and after the two-year transition period. In particular, the series "Made in Heaven" (1989) and "Celebration" (1994-2009) emphasize my claims. Individual artworks such as large-scale topiary sculptures Puppy (1992) and Split Rocker (2000) are also imperative to the support my argument. I further consider an examination of Koons comments about his work in order to support my claim that he significantly altered his style of art due a number of negatively received projects and tumultuous personal events. I claim that the artwork produced during second period of his career was a reaction against these developments. Koons responded by producing overtly pleasing, visually spectacular, large-scale sculptures that eventually elevated his career into the phenomenon it is today.

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