But is it art? More Jeff Koons

Last time around, a Zippy the Pinhead led to a Jeff Koons balloon dog and Popeye. Now, at the Whitney, a substantial show on Koons. From the NYT yesterday, this piece by Roberta Smith: “Shapes of an Extroverted Life: ‘Jeff Koons: A Retrospective’ Opens at the Whitney”:

There are so many strange, disconcerting aspects to Jeff Koons, his art and his career that it is hard to quite know how to approach his first New York retrospective, the Whitney Museum of American Art’s largest survey devoted to a single artist. [Open through October 19th; organized by Scott Rothkopf, the Whitney’s associate director of programs]

… there are all the big, often shiny sculptures, framed posters and glossy paintings, all tending toward an almost brain-freezing hyper-realism that isolates and fastidiously transforms objects from all corners of contemporary life: household appliances, gift store tchotchkes, advertising posters, children’s toys.

… The erotic and, to some extent, the scatological are never far beneath the surface in Mr. Koons’s art. Exhibit A is “Play-Doh,” [dated 1994-2014] a new, almost certain masterpiece whose sculptural enlargement of a rainbow pile of radiant chunks captures exactly the matte textures of the real thing, but also evokes paint, dessert and psychedelic poop.


Koons’s work is now labeled by some as “neo-pop”:

Neo-pop is a postmodern art movement of the 1980s. The term refers to artists influenced by pop art, such as Jeff Koons and Sam Havadtoy in the USA. In the 2000s the work of Takashi Murakami in Japan and in 2009 the Arts project Nicolas Lepaulmier in French has also been described as neo-pop. Ken Done in Australia became world famous for his businesslike approach to art related merchandise including tea towels, key rings, t-shirts, sarongs. (Wikipedia link)

Like the pop art (Pop art, Pop Art) it follows, neo-pop has generated plenty of bafflement, and of course cries that these works just aren’t art — or, at least, not Art. See “What’s art and what’s not on the High Line” from earlier today. These artistic movements have antecedents in the work of various earlier artists, especially the playful Marcel Duchamp.

3 Responses to “But is it art? More Jeff Koons”

  1. But is it art? At MoMA | Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

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    […] Recent Koonsian postings on this blog: 6/21/14 “Streamlined Koons” and 6/28/14 “But is it art? More Jeff Koons”. […]

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