QUESTIONS: Jeff Koons

The following questions can be used to spark conversation before, during, and after viewing the artist's film segment. They were compiled from our Educators' Guides and Screening Toolkits. We strongly encourage active viewing strategies that involve audiences in discussion in order to anticipate and set-up the ideas in the film, clarify content, or further the ideas while watching, and gives viewers the opportunity to process and re-consider their ideas after watching. Additional resources and strategies for teaching with films and working with contemporary art can be found in Teach.


"Split-Rocker," 2000. Stainless steel, soil, geotextile fabric, internal irrigation system, and live flowering plants, 441 x 465 x 426 inches. Installation view, "Jeff Koons Versailles," Ch√Ęteau de Versailles, France, October 9, 2008-April 1, 2009. © Jeff Koons. Courtesy the artist.

Before Viewing
What are the personal items and objects that are most significant in your life? How might these objects be transformed into art?

How has technology changed both the ways that art can be made and who makes it? What new tools, equipment, and methods are artists using, that integrate technology into their processes?


SEGMENT: Jeff Koons in "Fantasy"

While Viewing
Recount the steps involved in the process of making one of Koons's paintings. What technologies and innovations are utilized to create a finished work?

List all the references to popular culture that you recognize in Koons's work.


"Ushering in Banality," 1988. Polychromed wood, 38 x 62 x 30 inches. © Jeff Koons. Courtesy the artist.

After Viewing
Koons speaks about his desire for communication and interaction. How does his choice of media, materials, and subjects relate to this desire, to communicate through his work?

How does Koons's painting process differ from the process of ten years ago? Of one hundred years ago? Of one thousand years ago?


"Jeff Koons on the Roof," 2008. Installation view, "Jeff Koons on the Roof," Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, April 22-October 26, 2008. Left: Sacred Heart (Red/Gold), 1994-2007; High-chromium stainless steel with transparent color coating, 140 1/2 x 86 x 47 3/5 inches. Right: Coloring Book, 1997-2005; High-chromium stainless steel with transparent color coating, 222 x 131 1/2 x 9 1/8 inches.

Talking about his work, Ushering in Banality, Jeff Koons says: "I've always thought of myself as the young boy in the back, pushing the pig—pushing in the belief of trying to make work that would communicate to people that their own cultural and personal history up to that moment was absolutely perfect." Discuss this quote. How does the viewer's perspective inspire Koons? How does perfection inspire desires and inform fantasies? In what ways does Koons reach toward unobtainable ideals, like perfection?


"Caterpillar Ladder," 2003. Polychromed aluminum, aluminum, plastic, 84 x 44 x 76 inches. © Jeff Koons. Courtesy the artist.