Roblog

Jeff Koons’ Puppy

January 22nd, 2008 by roblog · 11 Comments

Given that most of the conversation around the sculpture studio lately has been about animals, topiaries, large scale works and Post-Modernism, it brings to mind the ultimate confluence of all such subjects:

Jeff Koons’ Puppy

It seems that every time I bring up the topic of “Jeff Koons, My Dislike Of”¹ around a fellow Art-Viewing-Person, the response I get is something along the lines of “No matter how much you hate Jeff Koons, you have to admit, you like Puppy.”

Undeniably, Puppy is gosh-darn likable.³ It’s also a good example of how monumental scale can add a sense of magic to an otherwise uninspired idea. (Claes Oldenburg probably made the best use out of this principle). On the other hand, Puppy can emblemize gimmick and the vapidity of the artistic vanguard of the last twenty years.

On the other, other hand, who criticizes a giant flower dog?

_____

¹ A little known fact about me: I index and cross reference all conversational topics. Really.²

² Not really.

³ So likable, in fact, that I predict that in the year 2019, the likability of Puppy will be used to distinguish human beings from the robot-people, who will then be killed by Harrison Ford, blade runner.

Tags: Art · ARTS 331

11 responses so far ↓

  • JewelD // Nov 15th 2009 at 6:40 am

    Oh thank god – someone else who can’t stand the skill-free Jeff Koons.

    I couldn’t believe it when I recently read an interviewer’s question to Charles Saatchi: who is the greater artist, Jeff Koons or Damien Hirst? That had to be a trick question, Koons and Hirst being completely skill-free poseurs.

    Now that the two have both made actual (and awful) paintings, I can only pray that the skill-free trend in art is over.

    Fools and their money, and all that.

  • Ecomanta // Jan 13th 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Jeff Koons is a genius – he has taken the idea kitsch and comfort and made it into High Art. Art is only as valuable as its ability to send a message. His work is about man’s vulnerability to the familiar – it is both cunningly exploitative and intellectually critical at the same time. Anyone bold enough to present images and sculptures of his copulating with his former porn star wife and have it accepted into the canons of High Art is untouchable. Koons makes us question what art is and in turn what it means to be human. Why do we make art, what does it say about our culture, how does art become valuable, and does it make us reflect? These are all questions Jeff Koons artwork makes us think about. Skill free is a matter of opinion – his skill is to tell a story, ask a question, and give an answer all at the same time. Flower puppy is not about scale or beauty – its about humans relationship to art. He is the most valuable living artist – Damien Hirst doesn’t really count as he needed diamonds to prop up his art price. Damien n the end asks “what is art” – where Koons, the wiz kid of the century makes us question who we are in relation to art.

  • fairyann // Feb 8th 2010 at 5:40 am

    me like flowery dawg!

  • Owen Ramsay // Mar 16th 2010 at 6:38 am

    Yer many of his works are actually handcrafted and take years to make, but thats kind of the point thats what hes playing with the fact they are kitsch but there also not in many many ways.

    and anyway who cares if about the scale i agree it can make a not so god idea look great but with puppy i think it would have still been impressive no matter what size it was

  • fairyann // Mar 16th 2010 at 6:53 am

    me like flowery dawg more than youuuuu!!!!!

  • JewelD // Mar 16th 2010 at 11:47 am

    @ Owen Ramsay

    re: “actually handcrafted” – NOT by Koons. Koons is a designer, not an artist. He suggests a design, and commissions someone else to make it. That’s a designer. Koons never cast or polished a sculpture in his life.

    From his earliest days, I have not seen one item that he actually drew. (Remember his framed ads?) Even his recent “paintings” were merely done by his factory employees.

    Koons and Hurst are simply low skill artists, who try to use concept to mask that fact. Both, however, seem to be adept at group psychology.

    Koons and Hurst have more in common with P.T. Barnum than they do Andy Warhol, whose mantle they so vainly try to wear.

  • bmv // Sep 28th 2010 at 2:27 am

    To JewelD:

    And what say you of Andy Warhol? His work was much the same–he designed and had others execute the work. His point was that art is supposed to be about the design, aesthetics, fun…much like the Dada movement. Art should not be about the exclusivity that the preexisting canons of academies have created.

    But more importantly aren’t you missing the point of art? It doesn’t have to be some profound thing that makes us think about society, or that makes us revel in the artist’s skill. Our ability to laugh at a piece of art and still appreciate it is far more important than trying to decipher some underlying metaphor for, what, the egregious materialism of society? The mundaneness of every-day objects?

    I saw Koons’ exhibition at Marseilles in the fall of 2008 and it made me think very differently about art and about him. I used to be a Koons hater, then I saw a bright red pool-floaty lobster hanging by its tail in one of the royal salons in Marie Antoinette’s quarters and I found it irresistible and hilarious. Like Antoinette, Jeff Koons’ art IS tacky and ridiculous and over the top–it draws incredibly wealthy patrons attempting to pad their cultural capital.

    If we think about it this way, we CAN laugh at his art. And I think we’re supposed to, regardless of whether or not he takes himself and his creations seriously. If we compare modern society to pre-revolutionary France (c. 1789), then we can think of Koons’ art as a reflection of our “commodity fetishism,” a concept coined by Marx which expresses capitalist’s society’s obsession with the objective world and accumulation of objects, disregarding the social relations (i.e. exploitation) behind products. Koons creates for us, even if unintentionally, a way to critique the materialism of modern society, especially in the context of the 18th century French high society.

  • bmv // Sep 28th 2010 at 2:27 am

    And what say you of Andy Warhol? His work was much the same–he designed and had others execute the work. His point was that art is supposed to be about the design, aesthetics, fun…much like the Dada movement. Art should not be about the exclusivity that the preexisting canons of academies have created.

    But more importantly aren’t you missing the point of art? It doesn’t have to be some profound thing that makes us think about society, or that makes us revel in the artist’s skill. Our ability to laugh at a piece of art and still appreciate it is far more important than trying to decipher some underlying metaphor for, what, the egregious materialism of society? The mundaneness of every-day objects?

    I saw Koons’ exhibition at Marseilles in the fall of 2008 and it made me think very differently about art and about him. I used to be a Koons hater, then I saw a bright red pool-floaty lobster hanging by its tail in one of the royal salons in Marie Antoinette’s quarters and I found it irresistible and hilarious. Like Antoinette, Jeff Koons’ art IS tacky and ridiculous and over the top–it draws incredibly wealthy patrons attempting to pad their cultural capital.

    If we think about it this way, we CAN laugh at his art. And I think we’re supposed to, regardless of whether or not he takes himself and his creations seriously. If we compare modern society to pre-revolutionary France (c. 1789), then we can think of Koons’ art as a reflection of our “commodity fetishism,” a concept coined by Marx which expresses capitalist’s society’s obsession with the objective world and accumulation of objects, disregarding the social relations (i.e. exploitation) behind products. Koons creates for us, even if unintentionally, a way to critique the materialism of modern society, especially in the context of the 18th century French high society.

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  • mudpies // Apr 7th 2011 at 2:42 pm

    The only skill Koons does have is that of a con artist. I saw one of the paintings he did when he was in school and it was atrocious. He does not do his own work. He hires artists and art students to work for him. He tells them what he wants and they produce something.
    In truth he was good at selling the idea. If you look at the objects produced they are not even worthy of being called kitsch. Especially that blow up crap that deserved to be shredded with an exacto knife right before his eyes.
    For your information the Dada movement was not about art being fun it was about anti-war politics-, and rejection of the prevailing standards in art theory, literature, theatre, and graphic design.