Jeff Koons is why I hate art. It’s trite and meaningless and as I struggled to find some sincerity in his cheesy golden-boy smile from the end of the eighties until now, and some glimmer of meaning in his immaculate oversized objects, I realize after twenty years of torturing my brain that not only there is no meaning but it’s not art at all. It’s marketing.
Koons brings the masses to his work like bees to honey (I wanted to write like flies to shit but I am trying not to swear) because he convinces everyone the work isn’t art. Or more precisely – who cares if it’s art or not look at the great big dog I just made! And the viewers lap it up. It’s anti-art which targets the heavy user and blammo this is the marketing genius of Koons.
More people visit art museums than football stadiums and the vast majority are not art critics, artists, nor art buyers. They are people who have good intentions of walking around on a weekend in the hope of walking out marginally less stupid than they walked in. They are the people who are impressed by the size of the Raft of the Medusa (because it’s huge), by the size of the Mona Lisa (because it’s small), they are people who couldn’t give a crap about Benjamin or Berger or Baudrillard or any other thinker who starts with a “B”. They are people who love to say “I don’t understand a thing about contemporary art”, not that anyone understands anything about any other period in art history either but this doesn’t matter because it’s impressive.
And this is what Koons has revived. Impressive pieces of vacuous art paraded like the most glorious things to come out of studios since David wheeled out Napoleon Crowning Himself Emperor. No one gets it and Koons smiles along with us not getting it either, just a big smiley “Hey look at the great big thing I made!”. It’s perfectly targeted mass marketing. Art is dumb and we are dumb together!
So if you want to visit three big things Koons has ordered for himself to be made (I didn’t mention it but he doesn’t actually make anything himself but this is kind of a detail in the cinders of a deconstucted art universe) on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum in New York then go ahead (you have until the end of October 2008).
Join in the photo taking next to a big balloon dog like everyone else. Just don’t try to find anything under the shiny surface because it’s not really art. I’m still not sure what it is but I’m sure it’s well targeted communication and in an age of conversation where every man and his dog is writing about marketing it would be stupid to ignore Jeff Koons.