THEMATIC: Popular Objects and Communication

"Bear and Policeman," 1988. Polychromed wood, 85 x 43 x 37 inches. © Jeff Koons. Courtesy the artist.

How can popular objects be transformed into works of art? View Jeff Koons's segment and reflect on the use of popular objects in his work. Consider what the artist is trying to communicate through his choice of media, materials, and subjects.

Consider other artists who reference or work with objects and ideas from popular culture, including John Baldessari, Michael Ray Charles, Pierre Huyghe, and Cindy Sherman.

SEGMENT: Jeff Koons in "Fantasy"

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

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

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

"Elephant," 2003. High-chromium stainless steel with transparent color coating, 36 1/2 x 29 x 19 inches. © Jeff Koons. Courtesy the artist.

Select an object, idea, or element from popular culture that you think is important but misunderstood or not taken seriously. Appropriate and transform it to make a work of art that reflects its significance.

Design a contemporary toy inspired by a famous work from art history.