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.

yellow-dog2Last 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.

playdohPlay-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.

heartBalloon 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.

split-rocker1The child’s rocker that was used as a model for these giant pieces was included in the Whitney show in the Easyfun series.

split-rocker2Koons 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).

popeye1A 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.

hulkIt 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.

banalityBefore 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.

banality2In 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.

crystal-statueThere 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.

vacuum-cleaners2It 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?!”


“I yam what I yam.”popeye2

Me too, brother.

Your friends in the investment banking community

It’s the five-year anniversary of the financial crisis. My comfortable, dull, ordinary life was upended to a point whereby I still haven’t fully recovered. While gainfully employed these past five years (thank god), I’ve only managed to find consulting work. A staff hire with full benefits remains elusive.

In an interview reflecting on the TARP program that bailed-out failing financial institutions, then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson commented:

“There was a total lack of awareness from the firms that paid big bonuses during this extraordinary time. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. There was a colossal lack of self-awareness as to how they were viewed by the American public.”

Allow me to enlighten Secretary Paulson. I’ve spent my entire career working in asset management (except for one whorey detour in advertising). I know what lurks in the hearts and minds of investment bankers and, believe me, it’s nothing good. There was no “colossal lack of self-awareness.” They knew exactly what they were doing. Those guys couldn’t give a flying fuck what the American public thinks of them. They possess a single-minded obsession with money. Wives, children, reputations, everything, takes a back seat to their manic pursuit of wealth. They’d sell their own mother’s burial plot (with her in it) to a strip mall developer if they could get a good price on the land.

The asset manager I currently work for allows company officers to choose original artwork to decorate their office walls. There’s a sizable budget for it. The Head of Fixed Income chose to decorate his office with beautifully framed currency from around the world. HE FRAMED MONEY. Money is their art. Their art is money. From what I’ve observed over the years, it seems that people who are drawn into this line of work are afflicted with a dreary psychosis. Happiness can only be achieved through wealth accumulation. Money is love. I’m actually kind of stunned that my career inadvertently became intertwined with these vampires. Henry Paulson is an idiot.

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Speaking of art. (You knew I’d get around to it sooner or later.) There was an exhibit at the Whitney that, by description, didn’t sound very interesting to me. I had no enthusiasm for seeing it but I was in the neighborhood so I popped in.

Robert Irwin’s Scrim Veil—Black Rectangle—Natural Light was a reinstallation from 1977. It’s a simple idea. In an empty gallery (the one on the fourth floor with the odd-shaped window), they hang a translucent scrim along the length of the room. Doesn’t sound like much, does it?

I’m not sure the photos do justice, but it was actually pretty great.


The only light in the room pours in from the window and plays off the scrim.


The scrim is mounted on the ceiling and stretches the length of the gallery and falls halfway down. There’s an aluminum beam across the bottom holding it taunt that you can easily bang your head on if you’re not careful. I almost did.


There’s a black line painted around the perimeter of the gallery that’s the exact same hight and width of the aluminum beam. In this photo, the border extends from the camera, down the wall and then turns a corner. From this viewpoint, your eye is tricked into thinking it’s a giant triangle.


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Professor Xavier and Magneto (or, if you prefer, Captan Picard and Gandalf) stroll Times Square hawking tickets to their upcoming Broadway production of Waiting for Godot.