If you haven't heard about artist Jeff Koons' new, simultaneous shows at David Zwirner Gallery and Gagosian Gallery in NYC, now's your chance to get familiar. Maybe you saw Koons on the cover of New York Magazine, where they call him the most successful artist since Andy Warhol. He certainly has the business acumen of Warhol, and some of his sculptures are valued at over $30 million. So yeah, he's getting paid, and a lot of people envy and dismiss his obvious success.
People also commonly criticize Koons for the vague, empty descriptions he gives about his work and artistic philosophy. His comments on the "Gazing Ball" exhibition at Zwirner are no exception, and the gallery states that he was specifically inspired by "the mirrored spherical ornaments frequently found on lawns, gardens, and patios around Koons’ childhood home in Pennsylvania." He says that the series "is based in transcendence" and adds that, "the realization of one’s mortality is abstract thought, and from there, one is able to have a concept of the external world, one’s family, community, and a vaster dialogue with humankind beyond the present."
While it seems like a lot to chew on, as usual, you gotta ask, "WHAT IS HE REALLY EVEN SAYING?" And honestly, how can we make meaning from an object he admired as a child in terms of transcendence and realizing our place in the world? This seems like another case of Koons feeding us a vapid explanation, but he's positioned and branded himself so well that the work will still be admired for being beautiful and will sell for millions.
Sometimes it helps to juxtapose the familiar, and for us, that's rappers and hip-hop. Jeff Koons has a lot in common with our favorite, most successful rappers—he's a known hustler, he makes hit after hit, and he knows how to market his product. For artists across art and music, explaining one's work often appears secondary to selling it in the right way, and few embody this better than Jeff Koons.
Thanks to the gazing ball, we've been able to bring the art world and the rap world together for something truly special; however, make no mistake about it—we love Jeff Koons' new exhibition. In fact, let this serve as evidence of just how much we do. View "Gazing Ball" in-person at David Zwirner Gallery until June 29, 2013.
10 Rappers With Giant Blue Balls (Thanks to Jeff Koons)