Vote in the poll. If you follow my blog you know I come down hard on these guys, especially Koons, and I’m in the midst of a 4-part post about the effect of the ultra rich on art and artists. These dudes are the darlings of the super rich art buyers, and the more I’ve examined their output and methods, the more I’ve come to see them not as artists, but more as bosses of art factories who get (or in the case of Hirst steal) an idea for a product, usually a copy of an already existing object, and then commission expert artisans, or their own studio workers to create it for them (who they apparently deem unworthy of giving any credit to). They rarely participate in the making of the product, or in the aesthetics or original conception, which means that they are stunted as artists because they haven’t developed the ability to invent and reconsider during the making process, or to fuse making with conceptualizing. They are like musicians who can’t play instruments, and this limits them to depending on others to use their skills to execute a preconceived idea. This also explains the perfectionist, highly polished final products. There can be no personal touch, or evidence of a human hand, because it wouldn’t be theirs. Nevertheless, because of their fabulous wealth and ability to hire the most skilled artisans, it is a bit like having a genie to make your art for you.
Anyway, which of these two do you like better? I’m sure you won’t be influenced by my opinion, but I choose Hirst, hands down. All of his work is on a sort of boyish high-school level: dissecting animals, looking at skulls, noticing that color charts are themselves colorful. Koons’ work is more kitsch and feminine: shopping, figurines, hearts, stuffed animals. I also like gross stuff, so I’d much rather look at a Hirst sculptural appropriation of a cutaway pregnant woman biology kit than a Koons sculptural appropriation of a balloon dog. On the other hand I read that Hirst under-payed the artists who created his work for him, and Koons being a bit gentler, if no less avaricious, treats his inferiors with at least a gesture of respect.
Admittedly, the more I delve into these guys the more appreciation I have for them. Still, if you’ve got over a hundred artists working under you and tens of millions at your disposal, you’d better deliver.
Which art CEO is do you like better?
Oh, and if anyone can give me a more comprehensive figure on the total output of Koons, I’d appreciate it.