By Chadwick Hagan
On October 2nd, the High Museum hosted a lecture with Jeff Koons at symphony hall. Packed by 7:00pm, with crowds well into the balconies, this celebrated pop artist explored the influence of Dali on his own work. Salvador Dalí: The Late Work, is on exhibit at the High Museum until January 11, 2011.
Koons has become one of the most important and influential artists of the last three decades, but not without his fair share of criticism. Referred to as the ‘king of kitsch’ for some his work, his pieces often go for millions of dollars. He has found a way to intricately communicate with his admirers and rarely pays attention to naysayers.
According to Koons, art is about communication and making a connection with people. It means creating something from what is discovered while looking inside the self and learning to trust your instincts. His lecture was accompanied with a slide series composed of various collections, and Koons gave brilliant descriptions his work and how it was influenced by the great masters, Dali, Magritte and Rubenquist. He went so far as to compare his sculpture, Rabbit (1986), with Dali’s painting, The Great Masturbator (1929). This conjured up correlations that I had never before realized or noticed. When Koons creates, he usually has a vision derived from one of the greats.
Today Koons has over 150 employees at his studio in New York. He said, “I can make anything I want, and because of that I don’t want to waste my ability.” He spends the days overseeing studio artists working on his projects and working with creative minds on his varying ideas.
In concurrence with the Dali exhibit, the High is exhibiting Moustache (2003), by Jeff Koons. The sculpture depicts a suspended mustache with broken lines throughout the interior, a variation of our bodies natural lines, and flanked with aluminum inflatable pool toys on each side.
Chadwick Hagan is a writer in Atlanta.