hooke·y (ho͝okē) noun informal.
1. to stay away from school or work without permission or explanation.
I take very few things in life seriously, least of all my work. I’m conscientious about keeping a job. I have responsibilities. Plus, I need to fund the things that DO interest me. But I’ve never been one of those career-driven success stories. I envy people like that. I wish I could have embraced a white collar profession, but things like medicine, law, management and high finance bore me to tears. Those things require a significant time commitment and a lot of personal sacrifice. I have a slacker’s heart.
I called in sick in order to view the Jeff Koons exhibit at the Whitney Museum. I told them I had food poisoning. How immature is that? Try to imagine someone who owns his own business or a senior executive in an asset management firm calling in sick to visit an art museum. It just wouldn’t happen. It’s irresponsible. It’s bizarre behavior for someone my age. Why am I blogging about this, anyway?
However, that being said, the Koons career retrospective is special. The Whitney is closing to relocate downtown and they’re going out with a bang. They turned the entire museum over to Koons. It’s unprecedented. I certainly don’t like all of his work but I thought the show was interesting enough to do something as childish as faking an illness. Kak-kak.
Back in the 90’s I didn’t have a lot of respect for Koons. I thought he was much better marketer than artist. Since then, I got over my bad ass self and enjoy some of his pieces because they’re fun, which is what I think he intended all along.
This is Balloon Dog (Yellow) from the Celebration series of the exhibit. Koons made five of these, each one a different color.
Last November, Balloon Dog (Orange) sold at a Christie’s auction for $58.4 million. This one is owned by hedge fund scumbag Steven Cohen of SAC Capital.
This is his latest piece, finished just before the Whitney show opened. It’s a giant, steel sculpture of Play-Doh.
Play-Doh purportedly took 20 years to complete. He’s a perfectionist and was looking for the exact right color and texture. His poor assistants!
Across the room from Play-Doh is Hanging Heart (Violet/Gold), a 9-foot tall polished steel heart.
Balloon Dog, Play-Doh and Hanging Heart are all in the same gallery. It’s like walking into a riot of color and over-sized familiar shapes.
About a month ago I did a post that included Split Rocker, the Koons summer outdoor installation at Rockefeller Center.
The child’s rocker that was used as a model for these giant pieces was included in the Whitney show in the Easyfun series.
Koons has a thing with superheros. Who doesn’t? This is Popeye. It was on display in the courtyard just outside the Whitney cafeteria (where spinach isn’t served).
A version of this statue was purchased this past May by casino magnate Steve Wynn for $28 million. Is that all?
This is Hulk (Organ). It’s a fully functional pipe organ.
It couldn’t be played because it only has one volume—very loud. The literature said it’s as loud as a helicopter. What a tease!
Speaking of tease. There was a room full of sculptures from his Banality series that included his most famous piece, Michael Jackson and Bubbles.
Before I saw the exhibit, I was thinking that it’d be fun to bring the daughters into the city and see Balloon Dog and Play-Doh. Then I saw these.
In 2011, the Pink Panther sold for $16.9 million, which was considered a huge disappointment. The estimate had been $20-30 Million. The front of the sculpture can be seen here. There’s some pornographic imagery as well.
There are also giant prints of Koons nude with his then wife, Italian porn “actress”-turned politician La Cicciolina. Do you think 8-years old is too young to see Koons’ penis? I do.
You may have thought the previous pieces were preposterous but wait until you see these beauties. Here’s a gallery full of vacuum cleaners in lighted plexiglass cases. It’s from his The New series he did in 1980.
It defies commentary although I’m certain there’s a high-minded explanation for this.
This is from the Inflatables and Pre-New section. They’re…umm…a toaster and a whistling tea kettle mounted on lights. I was sending pics to my friend and he said, “You took off work for this?!”
Me too, brother.