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Jeff Koons

Three Puppies

1992

Playing with notions of taste, Jeff Koons makes works that teeter between fine art and kitschy objects. Often silly or sentimental, his sculptures render banal subject matter in extravagant materials or proportions—a giant, brightly colored, mirrored, stainless-steel balloon animal, a forty-three-foot tall puppy dog made of fresh flowers, or a porcelain-and gold-leaf Michael Jackson cuddling his pet chimpanzee Bubbles. Three Puppies, a wood sculpture of three terrier dogs, is rendered in the familiar style of a decorative knickknack or an object one might find in a tchotchke shop. As critic Christopher Knight wrote, “[Koons] turns the traditional cliche; of the work of art inside out: Rather than embodying a spiritual or expressive essence of a highly individuated artist, art here is composed from a distinctly American set of conventional middle-class values.”

Jeff Koons (b. 1955, York, Pennsylvania; lives and works in New York)
Three Puppies, 1992
Polychromed wood
19 x 27 x 23 1/2 in.
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Gift of Robert H. Halff

For me, the process of making my work is a very moral activity. As I said, I want people to trust in the object and the fact that I’ve tried to create something of value. Therefore, the object needs to be crafted to the highest level. Craft is a tool and a form of value that people can believe in. —Jeff Koons

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