Jeff Koons has long demonstrated a desire immortalize the mundane, and from basketballs to vacuum cleaners, he makes his objects functionally useless along the way. When he had the opportunity to design a snowboard, however, Koons’s little-known love of the sport apparently preserved the board for its intended purpose. A collaboration with Jake Burton of Burton Snowboards, The Philosopher, as it’s dubbed, was inspired by Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. The extremely limited run of 50 boards was unveiled last week at Burton’s SoHo location.
Koons’s passion for snowboarding began when his six children begged him to swap out his skis and give it a chance. He was completely taken by the sport, enchanted with what he felt was a “sense of oneness.” “When you put your two feet on a board, this aspect of having a right side and a left side just disappears,” he says. “There’s a tremendous vastness that you feel, too, when you ride down a mountain and you’re able to go in a perfect line.”
That feeling of “transcendence,” as he describes it, brought him to the Allegory of the Cave, a story that Plato employed to illustrate his theory of knowledge and its effect on human nature. “[Exiting] the cave represents transcendence,” explains Koons. “If you let yourself break free, and walk out into the light, you experience reality. I was trying to reference that in the oneness of boarding.”