Koons has a giant inflatable ballerina now exhibited at Rockefeller Center which tests just how stupid and blind the art world really is. Isn’t it splendidly insipid?:
Jesus F’ing Christ kabob on a skewer, pardon my profanity, and no offense to Christians intended! It’s as if the artist is so secluded from reality in his protective bubble of unimaginable wealth, fame, and accolades that he has no idea the reality the rest of us live in. I have come to abhor identity politics, but, if I were Koons, I would have had my paid artisans make the girl less of a white cupcake. Yup, I would have made her racially ambiguous. Nothing wrong with a milky white ballerina! Nothing at all wrong with being white. But, in the current climate of rabid political correctness and identity politics (they have solid points but I think there’s a better way forward) you make yourself look kinda’ detached from reality when you choose to inflate what could easily be interpreted as a symbol of “whiteness”.
Imagine if he’d book-ended the fountain with an inflated white boy-scout at the other end. We could appeal to a postmodern irony, in which the artist were reflecting American culture back on itself, but he is unironic. I start to wonder if he’s a bit dim for irony. Can’t be. He can’t be as guileless as he presents himself – the art-world’s Forest Gump. He is, after all, a former commodities trader, and probably a rather ruthless businessman.
If Koons had lapsed one way or another and was incapable of keeping up his brand name, and someone discovered online that I’d made a fake of his paintings that is the #1 image that comes up if you do a Google image search for “Jeff Koons painting” – which suggests that if push came to shove an actual visual artist can outdo Koons at Koons – and they commissioned me to secretly keep the Koons legacy going, I wouldn’t have chosen a ballerina at all.
Maybe I would have done a giant piece of candy, er, like this one (which is also actually by me):
There’s nothing much new to say about Koons as he isn’t doing anything much new. The one thing that stands out is that he’s inverted his one single outstanding contribution to the rather light end of art history. He is the man who formerly made a foil, helium balloon bunny into a polished aluminum anchor.
That instant recognition, “Oh, shit, it’s metal” is the best thing he ever did, and repeated, and repeated again… Now he has inverted his own legacy in an unintended self-invalidation. He’s made a solid object into an obviously inflated balloon. Gone is immortalizing the ephemeral tchotchke into a stolid work of art for posterity. Any philosophical weight we try to attribute to the surprisingly inarticulate Koons/Gump evaporates in sheer vapidity. Now we are just playing with shiny things and paying people to inflate shit.
Sure, sure, the ballerina has a certain aesthetic. It makes us look at shiny baubles in a way that we’d look at them anyway if we bothered to. It’s not an aesthetic he invented, but rather appropriated. It’s that thing where we are not supposed to be able to perceive something directly unless an artist puts it in a gallery and it sells for a million dollars. I think this may sadly be true for a lot of people who need authority to tell them what art is, but if you are your own bad-ass connoisseur you don’t need to be spoon fed and have training wheels slapped on you.
As usual, Koons has plagiarized. They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over when it doesn’t work. I don’t think that’s really insanity, and he’s doing the same things over because it does work, financially anyway. However, is it that hard to come up with your own idea, or sketch out something? OK, true, as a conceptual blow-hard artist, Koons may lack the most elementary drawing skills. But, I’m pretty sure anyone, including the world’s richest and most famous artist, could learn them with a few weeks training. Surely he can afford it. Jeff Gump could have sketched out some design and had his experts make a flawless version of that in style of choice. But no, he had to go and rip someone off 100%.
The original design is by some Russian artisan.
Foly Huck Mat Ban! Woo-wee there’s some serious off-ripping going on here. I’m guessing he didn’t copy the artist’s trademark on the bottom of the kitschsicle:
Maybe if we turn it over we will find that. Uh, when I was teaching English to kids in China (that’s what you do when you aren’t a famous artist) they used to copy each other’s homework. They are much more accepting of copying in Asia. Well, two kids had identical homework, but I was able to figure who copied who, because the student who copied also copied the other student’s name at the top of the paper. OK, Koons would be smarter than that, but what if his assistants had themselves a laugh?
I sorta’ feel bad in dismissing Koons as the Forest Gump of the art world (repeating this three times makes it stick), but, the orange one who shall not be named reminds us that stature, fame, fortune, and accolades may serve to hide lackluster talent and ordinariness. I’m afraid that the ordinariness of Koons’ art that has been seen as non-ironic but ironic profundity may just be super-sized ordinariness.
Have you ever moved from someplace to someplace new, perhaps another country, and then after many years gone back to see everything the same? Koons is kinda’ like that old place that hasn’t changed. Long after high-dollar, blue-chip conceptualism imploded on itself for not having any conceptual huevos rancheros, and appropriation stinks with the stench of death, Koons just keeps on playing the same old tune. It would be kinda’ comforting, except there’s something rotten in it, not entirely like the feeling you get when you realize where your shiny diamond came from.
Note: the assistants who crafted the infuriatingly inane bauble did a fine job, as usual.