Exhibition curator Francesco Bonami traces lineages from Grimms’ fairy tales and AA Milne to Koons’s playful works along with the work of Gustave Courbet to the controversial Made in Heaven series. He writes about contemporary connections, including Andy Warhol, Maurizio Cattelan, and The Three Soldiers, the other Vietnam memorial. The fully illustrated catalogue addresses the centrality of Chicago to Koons’s artistic upbringing. MCA curator Lynne Warren interviews the artist about the influence of Chicago artists, particularly Jim Nutt, Ed Paschke, H. C. Westermann, and Karl Wirsum, on his practice. For Koons, this critical time in his development was a period of transcendence. In practical terms, working as a studio assistant to and befriending Paschke taught him that he could be a professional artist. In metaphysical terms, Koons began to see his ideas in dialogue with Dada, surrealism, and the Chicago Imagists, all genres that communicate with personal icons: from Salvador Dali’s mustache to Paschke’s tattoo parlors. Through Paschke and others, he looked to the external world to find his personal iconography, which he used to explore his subjectivity, transcend his limits, and fulfill his potential as an artist. Published by the MCA in association with Yale University Press.