Saturday, June 12, 2010

Too Much Monkey Business

Jeff Koons has said there are no hidden meanings in his art. OK, then, so how come I didn’t get that his 1988 Michael Jackson and Bubbles, dubbed a “masterpiece” by Charlie Finch in artnet magazine, “entraps MJ in gold leaf like a metrosexual Midas and offers the chimp Bubbles as a witty child substitute?” “The total effect,” writes Finch, “is one of transcendent impotence, a brutal contradiction constantly underscored by the futility of Jackson’s crotch grabbing in performance and facial procedures under the surgeon’s knife.”

It’s not like I’m one of those people who gets all angry at the proverbial white canvas with a big red dot—my definitions of art and beauty are way more inclusive than they are exclusive—and it’s also not because I’m the kind of person who has the Michael Jackson Dress-Up Colorforms set (my favorite is his outfit from Beat It)...I just wouldn’t call this inspired. Actually I’d call it expired, its energy kind of going nowhere, though I do like the shiny fool’s-golden Franklin Mint aspect of it (get this $5.6 million sculpture for just 3 low payments of 19.99!). And if you can’t get your hands on one of the 3 identical sculptures Koons created, you can always purchase a t-shirt with the image on it. (I saw one on Etsy today! Geesh!)

Nah—screw the talk of Koons depicting childhood as a “lifeless signifier of death” (though that at least explains the piece's silent/gumball machine-esque nature) …what bugs me is he did a crappy job of depicting Bubbles! Either he needs to get some lessons from the sculptors at Franklin Mint or lose the speciesist notion that all chimps look the same. I ask you—does that look like a chimp who can moon walk and has drank tea with the mayor of Osaka?

For when you really feel like pant-hooting
Apeman, The Kinks

Ooooh! Could I get Ray’s big white fluffy jacket in 3 easy payments of $19.99?


  1. Pune, what can I say? Jeff Koons is no Titus Tomescu! Remember Titus and his versatility: one week he's sculpting Snow Babies for Ashton-Drake, and the following month, he'd be tackling the life and times of Christ. That's a multimillion-dollar talent. Koons is truly well-known for his marketing skills and his outrageous lifestyle, even more than his artwork. Wow! Here's a guy who is the darling of the art-critic movement, and I don't know if he could get hired to make action figures for GI Joe. Great posting, and really insightful conclusion.

  2. Titus Tomescu!!! OMG, OMG, OMG, I love you! I am laughing even though I am thoroughly engrossed in Lifetime's "Amish Grace."

  3. Yep, Titus Tomescu was a doll artist god! I remember my interview with him so fondly because he was everything I imagined and more. I will proudly declare he is much more talented than Jeff Koons. Art snobs, I dare you to disagree after studying Titus's oeuvre.