Artist Jeff Koons, recognized for his creation of popular culture subject matter, developed the Gazing Ball Series as an ode to the classics and their interaction with society today. His collection features a series of 35 artworks, all repainted to recreate recognizable paintings, with the added feature of a metal blue gazing ball propped in the lower center.
Koons chose the gazing ball as a way to combine the 2-D with the 3-D, a skill he acquired from ancient art. He finds strength in the ability to reflect almost 360 degrees to the viewer, providing them with exactly what is surrounding them. He calls it a GPS system for the brain, and shares that the human mind is always secreting chemicals wanting to know where it is in the universe.
Beyond the scientific practicality of the gazing ball, Koons found it as a fun approach to making his art interactive and also a way of connecting with his artistic inspirations. He shares, “I want to participate, I always just wanted to be involved in a dialogue with the avant garde. This is my family, these are the artists that I have interest in, the joy that has enriched my life. I enjoy participating in the dialogue and I want to bring something to the table.”
He continues sharing on the power of these masterpieces, repurposing them to become powerful statements of in this society and at this moment, with the addition of the gazing ball. He is able to provide viewers with a renewed experience of artworks that they may recognize, though this time with a maximized sensory experience.
Koons also shares his belief in the theory of artistic spectatorship, which essentially means that a painting or sculpture is not complete until a spectator reacts to it. The involvement of mirrors is Koons’ direct way to push viewers to become spectators and complete his works.