On Monday morning, the artist Jeff Koons stood in Gagosian Gallery’s West 21st Street location in Chelsea, discussing his new show at the space with a small gathering of reporters. The exhibition features work from his “Gazing Ball” series. For the show, Koons has placed blue reflective spheres on small shelves in front of very faithful reproductions of classic works from art history. (A random excerpt from my notebook regarding the morning’s proceedings: “There’s the Mona Lisa! With a blue ball!”) Koons wore a dark blue suit with a lighter blue shirt and blue shoes.
“I really enjoy this work very much,” he told the group. He spoke softly and had both the appearance and demeanor of what I can only describe as a friendly elementary-school art teacher mixed with a quirky and idealistic political candidate dropping by to casually meet with his staff at campaign headquarters on a weekend. He punctuated his speech by dramatically stressing certain words every few seconds. “I have to say that I have been able to work and participate in art in mycommunity,” Koons continued, “and I’m really fortunate to say I have the freedom to make what I would like to make. And that’s what I’ve done here. That’s what I try to at least practice. But I really wanted to contribute to the dialogue—the metaphysical dialogue about objective and subjective.” He said he wanted to make something that was both “Duchampian” and “quite intellectual.”