pop music seems to be going through the same metamorphosis
that the Artworld went through in the late 80s and early
90s. I dont believe Im alone in observing
that todays popular music is about as bad as its
ever been. There hasnt been a major music revolution
since rap. None of the new stuff has any sincerity. When there
actually is some meat it has the flavor of "Rocking the
Suburbs" by the Ben Folds Five or "Too High for
the Supermarket" by The Uninvited. Like art, there continues
to be a lot of great music being made in the various 20th
century genres*. Also pre-twentieth century, most of the best
movie themes are classical. Turn on a top 40 station in America
and youll discover that the deciding spiritual and philosophical
theme of our time turns out to be: "Hey, look at me.
Im a rock star. Im rich, get laid all the time,
not like you, man." Remember, the Beatles and Louie Armstrong
were the pop music of their time. The super cynical attitude
of todays music reminds me of all those 80s art
stars, the most interesting of which is Jeff Koons.
Koons was born white and middle-class just outside Philadelphia
in 1950. He claims hes been drawing since he was a kid,
but Ive never seen any of his drawings. Jeff grew up
to become a stockbroker, but after a few years he decided
to redirect his salesmanship and marketing skills toward the
Artworld. His early work was recycled Pop art, ready-mades
and easily recognizable objects created by hired craftsmen.
The only innovation in art that Koons can be credited for
is being one of the first to present what I like to call "science
projectsas art." Besides that his work is no great shakes.
What makes Koons so interesting and historically important
is his celebrity. Sure there had been famous artists before
Koons, but they tended to be famous for their art, not visa-versa.
of Koons' most interesting exploits was marrying the Italian
porn star and parliament member, Cicciolina. They made a porn
flick together and even had a son, Ludwig. When Koons was
going through his porn period he created a body of work entitled
"Made in Heaven" and had a huge opening at Sonnebend.
The work consisted of large photographic prints of Jeff and
Cicciolina doing the wild thing. To the best of my knowledge
the largest porcelain in the history of the world depicts
Koons having coitus with his ex wife. Yeah, believe it or
not this match made in heaven didnt last. Oddly enough,
Koons is actually the good parent, soberly stating that he
doesnt want his son brought up emerged in the bowels
of the Italian porn industry. Jeff Koons new work consists
of large paintings of his PhotoShop collages executed by his
factory of employees. Like most of his work these paintings
are clean and interesting and totally irrelevant to Koons
place in art history. In a lot of ways Warhol did the same
thing, but he was sincere and, though a lot of people dont
know it, talented. Conceptually, these ideas go all the way
back to Duchamp and Dada. There are better conceptual artists
than Koons; some even with basically the same shtick. Mark
Kostabi was doing the same sort of thing at about the same
time. He sold coffee mugs and t-shirts with the Mark Kostabi
name, hired people to make his art and even had an employ
who he paid a dime for every dozen ideas he could come up
with. (Check out Mark Kostabis column on artnet.com)
But no one really pushed the "look at me, Im a
great artist" routine like Jeff Koons. And he did it
this talk about naked men reminds me of Jeff Koons. This guy
sells big photos of himself in the throws of passion with
his ex-wife. I mean, thats what he does for a living.
Did you know that a Jeff Koons creation "Michael Jackson
and Bubbles," (one of three casts created entirely by
hired craftsmen) sold at auction last year for 5.6 million
to my Oxford Dictionary of Art a genre is a category of art.
Theres a million of them. Theres even a genre
of painting called "genre painting." Also the authors
of this 550 page scholarly book published in 1994 seemed to
be unaware of the term "postmodern," which to this
day there is no consensus on the spelling of.