Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Must We Take Jeff Koons Seriously Now?

Comedian Stephen Colbert called Jeff Koons “The world's most expensive birthday clown” when the artist famous for his giant balloon animals appeared on his show in 2012. A year later, one of Koons’ balloon dogs sold for $58.4 million, setting a record for the highest auction price paid for a work by a living artist, so Koons could laugh all the way to the bank. Disdained by critics but loved by buyers, Koons and his work have always struggled for critical acceptance, especially in New York City, Koons’ base of operations. Finally, the Whitney Museum of American Art presents Jeff Koons: A Retrospective, a museum-filling show featuring 150 objects dating from 1978 to what one curator says are “literally works finished last week.” Is this the official canonization of Jeff Koons into the pantheon of art history? Must we take Jeff Koons seriously now? Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Must We Take Jeff Koons Seriously Now?"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In a word, No.

The best art provides us with connections to human experience that are timeless and universal, which literally stop us in our tracks and still our internal voices (Rembrandt, O'Keeffe; Rothko; Wyeth, and even Hockney come to mind). Those connections have nothing to do with fashion or The Market or, necessarily, ego.

Money is no yardstick of value. It's proof of P.T. Barnum's themes about sellers and those who pay to buy.

When I think of Koons, I don't remember his balloon rabbits or giant hedges or lifesized porcelain statue of himself having sex with his one-time, Italian pornstar wife. I remember his plagiarizing a photograph taken by someone else of a line of puppies and producing a fired-clay version of it that was almost identical to the photo.

Koons lost the lawsuit brought by the photographer, denying he was what his actions and life show him to be -- a trickster, and a kind of thief.

Not to put too fine a point on it or anything.