While reading yet another article bashing Jeff Koons, I decided it was time to out myself once and for all: I am a Jeff Koons non-hater.
Lately the volume of Koons bashing has gone off the charts. And while I usually try to straddle the fence regarding polarizing figures, peferring to feed and listen to the living dialog between haters and lovers (and mehs), I have, through sheer contrariness, found myself defending Koons, often, and at length.
I like the man: his enthusiasm is geeky and sweet, his intellect is swift, his hard work, facinating.
I like his art: it’s joyous with a nip of menace yet leaves one is free to add as much irony as s/he likes (sort of like the way I read The Song of David [Psalm 23:1]).
Lately he’s been accused of being an unapologetic white man making art about his white life —his white kid and his white marital issues —from his sorry white ass POV —and all the social and personal and even primal meaning he puts into works like Split Rocker currently at Rockefeller Center keep getting boiled down to simple scale and flowers.
This strikes me as too easy, and kind of sad.
You take split rocker; he actually made the the thing half monster/half toy (a broken dinosaur breaking away from a pony). Sure it’s inspired by autobiography, based as it is on his mourning for his son who was taken from him after his marriage to Ilona Staller (aka Cicciolina) broke up, but that subjectivity is what gives the Celebration series its gigantic elation and its gigantic sense mourning. Stay open while you look at Split Rocker, and its lofty/disorienting scale and its simultaneously funereal and ebullient flowers can fill you up and make you feel big in your subjectivity. And that’s kind of cool.
I don’t care what you say, Split Rocker is full of public love without any finger-wagging and I like it.