It’s cold, windy and miserable here in Australia today so I’m going to complain about the Jeff Koons retrospective at the Whitney Museum in New York that everyone is fawning over. On a good day, a more optimistic day, I would probably notice all the positive things about the man and the art as he is a great success. Obviously there are different flavors of success, but the success that says the money value of a thing is a measure of it’s true worth says Koons is the most successful artist alive. Other flavors of success that don’t take money into account could paint Koons as a complete and utter failure, but I think he’s somewhere in between the two extremes.
I believe Jeff Koons is a true artist holding a mirror up to humanity. He captures us so perfectly and in such detail that many people are shocked and disgusted by his art. It’s shallow, shiny, superficial, dumbed down, safe, obvious, idealized, derivative, crude, hideous, over-inflated, and all on the surface. Everything that humanity has become is in the work of Koons and people don’t like mirrors, so they see him as a novelty rather than a realist artist. I doubt the artist himself even realizes he’s a realist. And the collectors of his work, those who inflate his prices to astronomical sums aren’t going to admit to being all that Koons’ art is as they’re the most vacuous of all. They’re buying to make a million, to be fashionable, to be part of an exclusive club, to say look at me, I’m special. They’re not buying it for the art, they’re buying it because they don’t want to think.
I wish I could see the exhibition in person as firstly I would get out of this cold and windy weather but secondly I would like to see if I felt hollow, used and empty walking out of it. There’s almost 150 works on display, this is as Jeff Koons as you can get, this is our mirror, our reflection, so you probably should see it if you can.
Jeff Koons: A Retrospective opens on the 27th of June and runs through to 19th of October at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. The exhibition will then travel to the Centre Pompidou, Musée national d’art moderne, Paris and then onto the Guggenheim Bilbao in Spain. See more details at the Whitney website here.