The Who2 Blog

Let’s Harsh On Jeff Koons!

Last year, a piece of art by Jeffrey Koons sold for more than $58 million. Yes, it sucks, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. Read why from The New York Review of Books.

Last month, Jed Perl penned this piece for The New York Review of Books. “The Cult of Jeff Koons” — the title — doesn’t accurately capture the tone of the article, which is about how critics respond to Koons, more than it is about Koons himself, or his work.

Clearly, Perl doesn’t think much of Koons, who he calls a “recycler and regurgitator of the obvious.” Not familiar with Koons’s work? Read the Who2 profile.

The short version is, Jeff Koons makes millions of dollars by mass-producing artistic interpretations of mass-produced things from pop culture, from toys to cartoons. He doesn’t do the work himself — he has a factory that employs more than 100 people (some do painting, some do sculpture).

He notoriously depicted statues of him and his then-wife, porn star Cicciolina, in graphic sexual poses. One of his most famous pieces is a gaudy-beyond-gaudy statuette of Michael Jackson posing with a chimpanzee companion, Bubbles.

His Balloon Dog is now his most famous, because it was the orange version that sold for $58.4 million in 2013.

Jed Perl’s opinion piece breaks down all the craziness of it all, in a way that both satisfies the Koons haters (the “Hell, Anyone Can Do THAT!” crowd) and goads Koons supporters to defend his work (the “You simply don’t understand the neo-meta-post-deconstructionist-meta-pop-art-meta implications!” crowd).

Read the whole article here, and read the Who2 profile of Jeff Koons here.

And see a $58 million dollar sculpture here (as if it matters how big it is or what it’s made of or where it is… it’s $58 million worth!):

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