Jeff Koons’ Pseudo-Spiritual Explanation of Art on Colbert Nation

Jeff Koons was on last night’s edition of The Colbert Report to discuss his involvement with Studio in a School, a New York program that brings professional artists to teach art to underserved schools.

While Koons had the chance to plug the organization, Colbert also asked about his infamous balloon dog. Koons explained that it is a trojan horse of sorts, elaborating that “there’s information inside.” Colbert went on to ask why many of the artist’s works are shiny, and Koons suggested that they were about “affirmation,” which means, he said, “to affirm the viewer.”

About his art objects, Koons offered this:

“The art happens inside the viewer. The art isn’t in the object. If you go to a museum and you look at a Van Gogh or you look at a Picasso or you look at a piece like this, the art is not there. The art happens inside you the viewer, and the art is your own sense of your own potential as a person. That’s where the art is. These are just kind of like transponders and they trigger that information within you.”

Like all art, I guess that’s subjective. The explanation generally comes off as a type of pseudo-spiritual gibberish, though I can’t help but sense a tad of Ayn Rand in the notion of personal potential. During the recent financial crisis, there were many discussions about Ayn Rand and her flawed ideas, but that’s far too large a discussion for this blog post.

The question is the “affirmation” of the viewer a good thing? I vote no in this case.

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