As one of the world’s most successful – not to mention controversial – artists, Jeff Koons was a perfect choice to be our first-ever Guest Editor in 2007, along with Dieter Rams and Hedi Slimane. Throwing himself into the project with characteristic enthusiasm, Koons produced an eye-popping homage to childhood heroes Led Zeppelin. ‘As a teenager, I was interested in art, but I didn’t know what art was,’ he told us. ‘I did know that the closest I got to this sense of transcendence that art can bring into your life was Zeppelin’s music.’ Sadly, nothing came of Koons’ plans to design the cover art for a Jimmy Page solo album, but the artist has hardly been short of offers since 2007. In 2010 he unveiled a multicoloured M3 GT2 for BMW, followed in 2013 by a dazzle-painted yacht for industrialist Dakis Joannou. That same year his Balloon Dog (Orange) sold for $58.4m, still the highest price ever paid for a living artist’s work.
Koons shows no sign of retreating from the limelight. His recent handbags for Louis Vuitton sport images from Rubens, Titian and Fragonard, and though they are not exactly taking art to the masses, they have arguably raised his profile higher than ever.
‘My understanding of transcendence and how art functions comes from Zeppelin’
Blows up big in New York