10 Questions for Jeff Koons

American artist Jeff Koons talks about his medal from the U.S. Department of State’s office of Art in Embassies and more.

Full Transcript

0:00 hi I’m blind Alaska I’m an editor-at-large of time Jeff Koons is
0:06 one of the most famous and successful artists working in America today he’s
0:10 also one of the most controversial on November the 30th he will be getting a
0:14 middle from the department of state and we’re here at his West 29 streets to
0:20 here to talk about that and other things mr. Koontz thanks for having us
0:24 I’m thrilled to have you so explain to me about this metal what service have
0:29 you done for your country that he would be getting this
0:31 there’s a program called Martin embassies it’s about participating in
0:36 cultural exchange with the State Department and its celebrating its 50th
0:41 anniversary and I’m imagine back in the mid-nineties i started to participate i
0:47 think the the first embassy or ambassadors home that my work was on
0:53 loan to was in Czechoslovakia and I know that my work is a been in France and
0:59 other countries now at the present time in beijing china the American Embassy
1:05 they have a work of mine called tulips
1:07 so do you get to have any say over which of your works go where because i would
1:11 imagine some of your work which you know one of your big interest in sex isn’t
1:15 going to play well in all embassies if you see what I mean you know there’s
1:19 kind of an appropriate place for different dialogues and so you know that
1:24 works that are chosen for the program are you know works that really can do
1:28 not transcend and go across all different types of cultures you have had
1:34 you up exhibited internationally but you’ve actually had quite a lot of shows
1:38 in Europe this year is the attitude to your work
1:43 are you aware the attitude working different in different countries
1:46 different cultures respond to it differently is I think that the European
1:49 population is more used to being in
1:52 engaged with art that it has a more profound place in their life and the
1:57 Americans are not is what you’re saying
1:59 I think that maybe Americans are more intimidated by art and they haven’t
2:06 really come to realize that art is a tool and it is something which is very
2:13 very liberating to them there’s nothing required in any manner you don’t have to
2:19 have any prior knowledge and in any area of the arts to participate in them a lot
2:24 of people it’s a it’s a very big division between people who are in the
2:29 Outworld or engaged in and people who are not is their understanding of an
2:33 artist who doesn’t touch make his own work and I wanted if you could explain
2:37 to people who still don’t understand that i was still are if you haven’t you
2:41 haven’t really touched it
2:43 yeah I touch these things in a different way at the end I’m responsible for every
2:48 aspect of my work i’ve created systems that it on a painting every mark on that
2:54 painting even though somebody else is maybe applying that mark is exactly the
2:59 way I would do it it’s the exact color I would use because I’ve already have
3:03 created the color and approved the color and the way the paint’s being applied is
3:08 exactly the way that I’ve directed that it’s to be done so every part of it is
3:15 an extension of my being just as particularly in my finger tips like this
3:19 i’m working with other people when I was researching you in almost every article
3:23 quoted an old time magazine article written by the art critic robert hughes
3:27 i’m sure you’re familiar with it and he he was not a fan
3:31 I think it’s safe to say and one of the things he said was that you know you
3:36 know you couldn’t have initials on tree and with the princeling of kitsch
3:40 he’s not with us anymore mr. Hughes and I wonder if he was sitting here what you
3:44 know considering how it all worked out for you what would you want to say to
3:47 him I would have to say if you if anybody has
3:54 in in my you can do it you know I’m actually very very skilled at drawing
4:01 and painting when I was in art school I’d always win awards and win
4:06 scholarships but if you have vision in life you can do anything using your
4:12 fingers using your hands as tools it’s having the vision so you know I don’t
4:19 believe that people are just born with some form of of talent that some
4:23 abstract thing it’s about being able to have vision and if you have vision you
4:28 can exercise mr. cohen’s thank you very much