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.

I created that painting in the style of Koons as a prank. Also photoshoped him with it. People keep clicking on it ‘cuz it’s more cool than that which it parodies.

Maybe I would have done a giant piece of candy, er, like this one (which is also actually by me):

One of Koons’ better works, but 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.

~ Ends



8 replies on “Koons’ Ballerina Plagiarist Buffoonery

  1. I think that’s so awesome that your painting is the 1st one that pops up on google. I can’t imagine he’s too happy about that.

    I think he was trying to make the ballerina look like one of those Christmas tree ornaments. Making a bad idea for a sculpture doesn’t make it good. I agree with you that he should try to come up with his own ideas for his works, but let’s say he was to do a painting of the ballerina, would that be stealing? I personally can’t draw a picture of someone from my mind and have it look like them, and I doubt many artists in history could. If I have a model or picture to look at I can come pretty close. I don’t have money to pay for models so I take picture of my wife and friends or will look at picture from magazines to use as models. I never thought that was plagiarism but I guess it’s a fine line. His statue is definitely very close to that line. Mine are typically expressionist style so they don’t look like the picture but you would definitely know it’s my wife.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “let’s say he was to do a painting of the ballerina, would that be stealing?” That would really depend on what was done with it. If you or I went to a museum and made a painting of Hirst’s shark tank, that wouldn’t be stealing because nobody could mistake the painting for the tank itself, especially if there was any level of interpretation or anything else in the painting.

      But let’s say Koons has an idea of a little girl ballerina for his subject. He only needs to be able to draw his idea well enough for his assistants to take off with it. So, he could have a ballerina pirouetting on an oversized frog, and in one hand she has a butterfly and in the other a heart. He can sketch that, and write down things like, “make hair orange. Make the buttefly a tiger swallowtail. Submit your drawings to me tomorrow morning for review”. I’m just saying he can come up with the ideas. I put it the way I did to illustrate that he can’t draw for shit, can’t be bothered to learn, and he’s the richest and most famous artist.

      Does Koons know my pic is the first in the Google search? Who knows. Does he care? Who knows.

      I’ve got a bunch of fakes out there. Sometimes I feel kinda’ bad when someone uses, say, the self-portrait I did of Tracy Emin with my foot in a post about how good her drawings are. That happened.

      Recently I did a post about Basquiat’s lost painting of Warhol. Um, hum. That might be my lost painting of Warhol.


  2. Koons’s (? pardon my bad Grammar) is all about ”the banal”. As many others conceptual artists. This intellectual snobbism is what is disturbing. He is stuck in the banal theme but doesnt belong to the ‘stuckists’ I guess:) From Koons though I can find other conceptual artists who really get me…. like…..Martin Creed…..’s gums. I can think of more :)) Lets see for how many trillions this sells:))

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right, not only do I disagree with Koons and Warhol and Duchamp that the banal is better than the sublime, the banal has gotten really old and musty. Can’t Koons move on and do something new? Is it going to be banality forever? And is the art world going to just keep buying into that? I guess we’ll have to see.


  3. Here’s a thought, maybe the conceptualists know they can’t paint and that’s why they feel the need to criticize all painting. Where we as artists are able to see the conceptual artists with a more open mind and can determine who is good and who’s not in that field of art.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maybe. There’s another angle where conceptual art is automatically radical simply because it is not painting, as if any conceptual artist had eclipsed the scope of any painter. In that paradigm conceptual artists often can’t afford to NOT criticize painting, otherwise they lose their automatic ascendancy.

      Nowadays I’ve become so immersed in visual art, and what’s happening NOW in visual art, that it just seems ridiculous and narrowly self-serving to the point of being anti-art if one disparages painting.

      To fight back against conceptualists, political ideologues, and theorists like Rosalind Krauss, painters can conceive conceptual works themselves to show that it doesn’t take any radical breakthrough but is merely a question of medium; they can out-reason the theorists, and tackle the assumptions and conclusions of the political ideologues. I try to do all those things.

      But really, if anyone is anti-painting, we can just tell them to fuck off and come back when they grow some eyes and visual intelligence. On the other hand, I do think there is some great conceptual art out there which succeeds without any need to elevate itself above painting, and painters who won’t acknowledge that it’s art, or good, annoy me as much as the anti-painting, anti-art folks.

      Painters say the conceptual art isn’t art, and Conceptualists say that painting is dead. Both of these stances shut out creative enterprises and refuse to acknowledge the creativity and contributions of a range of artists.


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