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May 16, 2008
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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.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Craig permalink
    May 8, 2009 5:30 pm

    I agree in part. I am an artist myself and I disagree in your overall hate for art. Surely it’s a good thing that more people go to art galleries in which they receive a small amount of culture, emotion and realisation, opposed to a football stadium where people get drunk, shout a lot and encourage thugs (lets be realistic, most of them are) to kick a ball around a field. I do however agree that Jeff Koons is shit and a corporate fame whore but I don’t think he alone should dominate your overall outlooks towards art.

  2. Tim permalink*
    May 8, 2009 6:41 pm

    Oh, believe me Koons is not solely responsible for my overall outlook toward art. There are tons of other feckless wannabes who parade around convinced of their own magnificence whilst producing the sort of disappointing rubbish which has defined the end of the century and the worst two decades of art ever known to man.

    Don’t misunderstand my intention; my hatred of Koons (and the aforementioned squadrons of minions) comes from my real love of art. I even gave Koons a break by saying he isn’t even really doing art which you can’t get away with talking about others (who try to paint for example).

    I have the added advantage of rarely having to listen to him speak so I can judge the work alone in silence like all art should be judged.

    As for getting drunk and encouraging thugs you should have come to some of the exhibition openings I attended in the nineties. Plying the unwitting but wealthy with champagne in order to peddle some of the bollocks produced lacks only the ball and shouting to complete your comparison.

    Thanks for taking the time to read the post one way or the other.

    • Craig permalink
      May 9, 2009 12:50 am

      Perhaps this is because I am a young artist and I’m not really that knowledgeable of my art history, not due to ignorance, it’s just I’m quite forward thinking and tend to find enough current happenings to keep me occupied. It’s the same with music and other stuff.

      But anyway, I feel the last two decades have been quite productive in art terms. I totally agree that there is so much “ultra-conceptual” stuff has no real meaning or aesthetic properties, yet is still dominating the forefront of the art scene. We only have to look at last years Turner prize to justify this.

      However, I think where art has really exceeded in recent years is not so much in (i guess i could say) traditional art; painting, sculpture using everyday objects etc. but more in what could be known (possibly) as design art. The stuff that takes a lot more making and designing opposed to thinking and bullshitting.

      The works of artists such as James Turrel, Olafur Eliasson, Anish Kapoor and the UVA (which I highly recommend you checking out if you are unfamiliar with) are works based truly on the material use and manufacture and more aimed at creating emotional responses from the viewer in which they really experience something amazing and thought provoking.

      Also more designer based artists such as Thomas Heatherwick and Tokujin Yoshioka have been producing really amazing pieces of work, again based on materials and processes. In case you couldn’t tell by now I’m a 3D designer/sculptor so I find myself really inspired by this types of work.

      I guess it’s the same with everything overall, you have to look past the shit on the surface to find the really great stuff.

      It will be interesting to hear your response to this and opinions on those artists I mentioned if you haven’t previously seen their works.

  3. Tim permalink*
    May 9, 2009 6:45 am

    Thanks for your comments Craig. You may be a young artist but you sound far from ignorant.

    I do know (a few of) the artists you mentioned and the cross-over between design and art borders on the interesting if you are a designer. I agree there is more merit in creating a thought-provoking chair than a mind-numbing painting.

    Without plunging into the art/design debate I have seen more objectively beautiful objects created to illustrate plastic injection molding processes for presentations in China in the past year than technically brilliant sculpture.

    The world has turned. The eye-sporking skill of great artists four hundred years ago has moved away from making art. Which is normal. Four hundred years ago artists were commissioned to make something for someone for a specific reason…

    “Here buddy paint my church and make the parishioners really feel the fear of God.”

    “No problem. Do you want the version with blood and dirty feet or the standard ‘eyes pointing towards the heavens’?

    “Which one is cheaper?”

    When art became about nothing then I shouldn’t be surprised that the results are equally vacuous. What is interesting is (again, as you and the art world in general has discovered) the emergence of design. Why? Because design has a reason to be. Design has purpose. Design is to design something for someone. Ring a bell? The circle comes back to not being so dissimilar to our conversation four hundred years ago.

    So it’s not surprising that Kapoor and Heatherwick and the UVA et al scratch the rich earth around architecture and design instead of the stubble left from the history of traditional painting and sculpture.

  4. jillangelique permalink
    June 21, 2009 5:41 pm

    ART, what a wonderful creative expresion. I thoughtit was not to be judged, art is one’s inside put on the outside. So …… you don’t like it , are you the art GOD, the one who should judge? Maybe I think your stuff is “crap” who am I to call your followers flies,lol. Live and let live it makes for a better world where one is not afraid to make art and not fear the people like you to. Art is a giant place we can all live here. If you like blue but I HATE it I will leave you to your like and like my purple and still like you and never maline your blue.

    an ARTIST but not sure if I want you to see it, if it’s wrong(?) then what?

  5. Tim permalink*
    June 22, 2009 7:28 am

    Who told you art was not to be judged? Who gave you the impression that your art is not to be judged? Are you the ArtGod who decides what the viewer is to think and say after the work is finished and on the wall? If you accept praise then by definition you accept criticism. If you stop creating out of fear of being judged by your viewers then your problems are much deeper than artistic.

    Maybe your work is spectacular but I don’t know where you came up with the idea of art being a place where we all live without judgement in total acceptance of any piece of crap work which seeps out of the heads of artists.

    Thanks for the comment though.

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