Saturday, December 12, 2009

Jeff Koons, twist that knife...

I am angry. Deceived and tricked by an artist. I will try to type fast enough to extinguish the fire spurting out of my fingertips so that I can breathe normally again. Dramatic? You think I'm being dramatic? Well just imagine that you are from Mars. Yes, Mars. You find this thing called a video tape, and let's just say you have fantastic powers and can hold it and see in your brain the images on the video tape (because obviously you wouldn't have a VCR anymore...those were so 10th century Earth). You see this amazing film of a fuzzy frog emitting emotion while singing about how life isn't fair and you are effected by it. Moved. You may even shed a tear. Then when you go home to your Martian home and look on the internet for who this amazing being is and how you can see more of the Oscar-worthy (you obviously know what the Oscars are because Angelina Jolie used to be your neighbor) performances, you find out that he is nothing but a piece of fabric that goes on a human hand. Disillusioned, you destroy the planet Earth for tricking you so.

This is what Jeff Koons has done to art. Never having been a fan of pop art, I've never given Koons much respect/attention. My visit today to the LACMA changed my mind. I saw a piece similar to this:
The impressive thing about this is that it's made out of steel. And it looks like a balloon. And it's huge. Koons has a lot of pieces like this. Made out of steel or some other stiff material, and it ends up looking like an inflatable flexible plastic. Quite genius. Quite impressive. Then he has these paintings. The title card says "oil on canvas." Seeing this large scale paintings in person up close made me say "no. No way are these oil." Example 1:
Does this look like photoshop to anyone else? Well it got me interested. But these plastic-y forms do NOT look like they were ever touched by hand. However, the title cards usually don't lie...if these were really hand painted, that would be quite impressive.

I have googled myself blue trying to find one thing that says anything or has an image about Jeff Koon's art making process. The one article I found that sheds a sliver of light on this topic is The Art Newspaper's interview with him. In this article they explain that his studio has 120 busy assistants working hard on paintings, sculptures and maquettes. The interview even goes so far as to praise Koons for not outsourcing this work to China. For the man who sells his pieces for millions of dollars giving no one else credit, really?! Our number one thought is whether or not he could save some money?! Unbelievable. There was also a small mention on how Koons himself plans his paintings by layering images on photoshop. Which makes me wonder if a paintbrush ever does anything but touch up. By an assistant of course.

This is SO discouraging. If this is the art world, do I want to be a part of it? And the sad thing is that I think he had good ideas and good intentions in the start. But now, who's doing the work and who's getting the credit. It's turning into a commercial operation. And while I expect that the Stella McCartney dress I would love to own would not have been hand sewn by her, I do NOT expect this from artists. Especially those getting so much attention.

If you ever meet Jeff Koons, please kick him in the balls for me.

1 comment:

  1. If Stella McCartney walked into her offices and announced she liked blue, and the next day her assistant hands her a sketch of a blue dress and she signs off on it...THAT is when she'd be like Koons. Koons has made a brand for himself. Just like Wyland. Just like Kinkade. They have made a living as an artist. Pretentious? yes. Good business? yes. Art for art's sake? no. But we're in a world of consumers...I go back and forth on this issue.

    And Angelina is NOT an alien. STOP IT ;)