Here it comes: “Jeff Koons is all about producing oversized versions of cheap stuff using extremely expensive materials…”. Fans of Jeff Koons definitely disagree with this statement, so does the curator of the Whitney’s show “Jeff Koons: A Retrospective“; but art critic Jed Perl at the New York Review of Books and an increasing opponent camp believe that the ex-commodity trader is more of businessman than an artist.
Koons is a recycler and regurgitator of the obvious, which he proceeds to aggrandize in the most obvious way imaginable, by producing oversized versions of cheap stuff in extremely expensive materials…. The sculptures and paintings of this fifty-nine-year-old artist are so meticulously, mechanically polished and groomed that they rebuff any attempt to look at them, much less feel anything about them…. His work is the apotheosis of Walmart. For the sophisticated museumgoing audience, which is inclined to boycott Walmart because of the miserable way it treats its workers, Koons’s supersized suburban trinkets can be a smarmy guilty pleasure.
Criticizing Jeff Koons might feel hopeless, as we are surrounded by the large cults taking Koons and Gagas as profits…having said that, Perl’s rationale voice in a respectable publication is temporary relief.
Image source: Installation view of Jeff Koons: A Retrospective (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, June 17-October 19, 2014). Jeff Koons, Gazing Ball (Belvedere Torso), 2013; Gazing Ball (Farnese Hercules), 2013. © Jeff Koons. Photograph by Ronald Amstutz [courtesy of Whitney Museum in New York].