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Popping Bottles With Jeff Koons

The superstar artist opens up about his big-ticket collaboration with Dom Pérignon

Considering the prices that Jeff Koons’ artwork can fetch, scoring one of the artist’s popular balloon-like sculptures for a mere $20,000 seems like a steal. And when a bottle of Dom Pérignon Rosé Vintage 2003 comes nestled inside, well, that’s even more super-luxury bang for your buck.

On September 10, Koons debuted “Balloon Venus for Dom Pérignon“—along with the bottle he designed for the vintage. But before the big reveal, he took some time to chat about champagne, artist collaborations and some exciting new projects in the works.

Bubbles are a theme in your work, but this is something new.

I’ve always enjoyed the way artists have worked with different companies. With Dom Pérignon, I enjoyed very much the way they worked with the Warhol Foundation and the different designs they’ve used when other artists have worked [with them]. This was a project we had discussed and thought about for a couple of years. It wasn’t something sporadic. I’m really very pleased with the results.

How did you come to work with Dom Pérignon on this project?

I take very seriously working with [any] company. People have different views about artist relationships with other identities and brands. If I choose to work with a product, it’s because the endeavor isn’t just commercial, it’s something that has greater meaning.

In addition to the sculpture, you designed the bottle itself. What was the biggest challenge this project presented?

The reflectivity. The reason I like reflection so much is because it affirms the viewer: When they move, things change. So whenever anybody looks at [the piece], it reaffirms his or her existence. To be able to create an object like the “Balloon Venus” in this quality was quite challenging. I really relied on the resources of DP and I was really shocked at the quality [of materials], from the very beginning, that they brought to my studio.

Why did you decide to do a Venus?

[It’s] a symbol of fertility, of ritual, of biology and the concept of offspring. Champagne comes from grapes; it’s a biological material. And there’s a connection to celebration. There’s nothing more exciting than to celebrate life itself.

Another collaborator of yours, Lady Gaga, has said she wants to bring art into pop culture. What can we expect from your partnership?

I really like Lady Gaga. I think she’s a really wonderful person who has really great ideas and generosity. She wants to share with people [what] art can bring to your life. To communicate to people that it’s OK to want to be an artist. I’ll be working with her on the album cover. I designed the album cover for ARTPOP, and there are other collaborations we’re working on. This is something I worked very hard on… I’m very proud.

Dom Pérignon is a brand connected with fashion, which is fitting because it’s Fashion Week in New York now.

I have to say, I enjoy fashion. I enjoy how fashion can make you feel more confident about yourself. I think, as a young child, I was always intrigued by the way David Bowie worked with fashion and brought about a kind of theatrical excitement and openness. Fashion represents the qualities of refinement and aesthetics and that things do affect the way you feel about yourself and the world around you.

Will this “Balloon Venus” be part of your upcoming Whitney retrospective—the last exhibition at the museum’s current location?

The “Balloon Venus,” the full-scale one, will be there. I hope we’ll be celebrating a bit with some of the vintage from [the Dom Pérignon] collaboration.

What’s the most common misconception about you?

I would say, that what I’m interested in is just creating objects and generating money.



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