Red Diamond is part of Jeff Koons’s Celebration series which the artist commenced in 1994 and which focuses on the calendar of holidays. Koons’s works in the series are reflections upon the mass-made consumer products that are created for celebrating these holidays and in that sense Red Diamond is the perfect, Disney-scaled engagement ring. Its vast, oversized, gleaming stainless steel format takes ‘bling-bling’ to ecstatic new levels but the sparkle is only skin deep. The highly polished chromium surface of this steel object reflects light, but does not refract it in the same way as a real diamond. Instead, this is what an imaginary red diamond should be—it is an almost comic-strip archetype, a stereotype, a cliché that has burst into monumental existence in our world, speaking of wealth and luxury and awe in an open, sincere and deliberately uncritical manner.
Red Diamond – as the above-cited Koons quote makes clear in no uncertain terms – is also about sex, a theme which has been glorified throughout his work. Sex for Koons, is not a ‘by-the-way,’ sex is what ultimately assures procreation, hence life and thus primordial. In Koons’s own words: “Sexuality is the principal object of art. It’s about the preservation of the species. Procreation is a priority. But this also has a spiritual aspect for me. It’s about the way that we have children.”
© Jeff Koons