Thursday, January 24, 2013


Artist Jeffrey "Jeff"  Koons -- if you haven't heard of him, you're hearing now. 

He's everywhere -- name-drop the major, most prestigious museums in the world, they've displayed his "Balloon Dog," (reproductions in stainless steel), his gigantic "Popeye" and "Hulk," (in wood and bronze); also his paintings and his "Michael Jackson" sculpture in porcelain and gold.

Koons' "Tulips" (stainless steel with mirror finish surfaces) was sold for a record-breaking $33, 682,5000 at Christie's, this past November. 

The 57-year-old artist, from York, Pennsyvlania, is heralded by some critics as a pioneer. Others dismiss his work as crass kitsch. A recent NY Times article on Koons quoted a famous art critic, who called Koons' art -- "cat excrement."

Gee whiz, eek, is my instinctive reaction to the dogs, and tulips, to the fact that he has as a studio in NYC with 90 assistants, (yep, 90 helpers), who create sale-able reproductions of Koons' works, using paint-by-the-numbers techniques.

Yep, art lovers love 'em, buy 'em, but I'm not an art critic. I'm reacting to what I feel, and don't like about Koons' York, PA mentality. It's prejudice based on my growing up years in Harrisburg, PA, with kids like Jeff, noting from class reunion letters what they aren't and ARE -- for many of them, money is God, is status, the true measure of success -- the most important thing in life.

Okay, Koons is representing something about today's world and culture, but gee, the miles, the worlds apart, the head-shaking difference between Koons and Matisse.

Why Matisse? Well, a Matisse painting was accidentally (or purposely) displayed near another article on Jeff K.I don't know why some things don't move me, and other things, like this does.
Luxe, Calme et Volupté

Here's Jeff Koons, talking about his work.   

Maybe  it's just a cup of tea sort of thing  that I tried to explain a while back in this blog -- if you have time, click and visit --  Picasso, Matisse, and Tim Burton


Libby said...

Thank you for putting this into words, as I feel unsettled by this kind of cultural production as well...It is indeed the mentality and driving force behind a work that creates its affect on the world. Let that force be loving, iconoclastic, rallying, but never materialistic.

I followed the links to your paintings! Thank you for sharing your work here...I immediately connect to the characters in them, I feel some part of myself wake up, and my imagination sparks and crackles...that is art as I know it :0). Blessings!

Peggy Bechko said...

Personally I think the stuff is fun, but wouldn't call it fine art. But then I'm of the school of "I like it or I don't" when it comes to art. When it catches on it's waaaay over priced - then there are the wonderful artists U meet every day who can't even make a living though they create stunning art. Whole thing is very strange to me

Deleted Person said...

Great Em! :)

Linda Phillips said...

Artists like Koons sicken me as well. How ironic that it was juxtaposed next to a Matise, my absolute favorite artist.

So called artists who have, enormous, factory like productions, sicken me.Its like the late Thomas Kinkade who turned out cute little country scenes in the same factory method, with hundreds of Thomas Kinkade Galleries everywhere.

I so agree with you Em!

Unknown said...

Each to their own I suppose…can’t help thinking it looks a little like a school art display. Who knows, we all could be sitting on a fortune and not know it lol

JD Holiday said...

I like all types of art, though I am most interested in paintings. I do think art is a personal thing. Each piece of art, no matter what medium or forms they take, are as individual as each one of us. So it's not surprising to me that some would like Mr. Koons work more that others, and some people not at all. I enjoy just the opportunity to look at his work.


Louise Sorensen said...

Hi Em, and everyone.
I agree with Peggy. Some of it is fun, but not fine art.
But does Koons really care? He and 90 helpers are making a living at art.
I liked his tulips. But I think that his balloon dog in an museum is more about the museum drawing curious ticket buyers and their children than art.
Everything is money and business these days. Although Michaelangelo did have a large staff to help him.
Does a person have to be starving to be an artist?
It almost seems that way.
If we knew more of the details of the lives of our favourite artists and their techniques, maybe we would feel less reverently about them.
One thing I know: One man's trash is another man's treasure.
Art evolves with time and culture. So our idea of art evolves too.
Maybe in 500 years, Koon's balloon dog will be the subject of awed praise. The shine! The roundness! The colours!
Only time will tell if Koon's creations pass the test of time.
Great post, Em. Thanks for sharing! :-)
Louise Sorensen
louise3anne twitter