Saturday, January 21, 2012

Banality & Kitsch

Italian Woman (1986) by Jeff Koons

Let's wish Jeff Koons a Happy 57th Birthday.

I've put up a few posts over the last year featuring his work. That's not because he's really a favorite of mine, but, rather, because LACMA has an awesome selection of his works. Seriously, as an avid enthusiast of Los Angeles museums, how could I not share with my readers the entertaining works on display in town? After all, somebody Googles up "Balloon Dog" images every week or so. ;-)

A while back, I found Koons' work to be totally devoid of artistic value. Sure, they were entertaining with Pop reference or crass boldness, but, beyond the chuckle or moment of bemusement, there was nothing deeper than a brief sensation. His works were shallow.

St. John the Baptist (1988) by Jeff Koons

I've since changed my opinion. I still find his work to be amazingly shallow, but I think there is artistry in provoking a laugh. It takes a certain type of genius to put a pig and a penguin with St. John the Baptist. Is it kitschy? Yes. But it's also playfully creative, imaginative.

There's a talent in designing the sensational.

Moreover, the compositional elements of design are solid. It isn't enough to put a toy caterpillar in a ladder. It has to be properly arranged spatially to create an interesting view. It's a subtle type of artistry, but one that deserves to be recognized.

Caterpillar Ladder (2002) by Jeff Koons

Let's look at some vids:


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