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Jeff Koons is Terrible


I’m in Mexico City for the month. Because of the problems of Mexico generally, lots of people forget that Mexico City is a genuinely world class city. Among the many things it has going for it is a lot of art museums. I’m down here because my wife is researching and since she has the weekend off, we did whatever she wanted since I can do what I want the other days. One of the most prominent newish museums in the city is Museo Jumex, which may be named after the prominent juice company, but which has a lot of cash behind it. It’s not a huge museum, so rather than bother with a permanent exhibition, it runs prominent traveling exhibitions on its three floors. We didn’t really do any research on this before showing up.

So the current exhibition is comparing Marcel Duchamp and Jeff Koons. I saw that and was like, why didn’t I do research first. Look, Duchamp is alright. I don’t really go for the goof off stuff, but when he was working, especially early in his career the art world was so incredibly serious that he served a valuable function. Painting a mustache on the Mona Lisa had a point. So did pointing out the connections between consumerism and art. So that’s all fine, whatever.

But Jeff Koons is just awful. Taking Duchamp and making it a symbol of the New Gilded Age is what no one has ever needed. This exhibit had a lot of his most prominent works and mostly they just made me somewhere between bored, annoyed, and marginally angry.

Hey, here’s some vacuum cleaners.

Wow, I know I am really thinking deeply about consumerism now.

I have a great idea for art. I’m going to take the Moses Malone poster I had on my wall as a kid, put a frame around it, and make a lot of fucking money, of which Malone will see none because I bought the rights from Nike.

Wow, how smart and witty! This attempts to defend this “art.” Call me unconvinced.

Then there’s the play-dough piece. This piece was sold for $22.8 million in 2014.

$22.8 million, eh? Now, there’s no question that this was the most popular piece in the museum, with all sorts of people (my wife included) getting pictures in front of it. All this does is provide an exercise in nostalgia for adults about their childhood. Maybe that’s the point. I don’t know, I’m mostly a troglodyte. But this just seems kind of dumb to me.

Oh yeah, they had a bunch of the shiny balloon toys too. How thrilling.

This article tells us to stop hating Jeff Koons. Well, no. His art is bullshit for rich people in the New Gilded Age. It says precisely nothing. Whatever it might have said about consumerism are things that Duchamp and Warhol already said a long time ago.

Thus ends your extremely rare art criticism piece at LGM.

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