This week, Koons reviews, Facebook’s emotional manipulation, artwashing, Native American map of North America, Prince’s meme-inspired song, and more.
Reviews of Jeff Koons are in and the majority of them have been overwhelming critical. Of course, I’m assuming you read Thomas Micchelli’s excellent take on the show for Hyperallergic Weekend already:
- “Taking in Jeff Koons, Creator and Destroyer of Worlds” by Jerry Saltz (New York Magazine): “Which leaves one to wonder if there’s any way a Koons show can enlighten or surprise, let alone shock. Before even seeing “A Retrospective,” I knew that there are whole bodies of Koons’s work I have never related to. I’ve loved a handful of paintings for looking like they’ve never been touched by living beings but have been made by scores, maybe hundreds, of hands, almost transcending human touch, for their mutilating of ambiguities. Most of the others, though, strike me as hyper-anal-retentive Pop collages peppered with cartoon creatures and vulvas. I don’t like his work when it’s all about technical prowess, shininess, cuteness, or replication of an everyday object or children’s toy.”
- “Shapes of an Extroverted Life” by Roberta Smith (New York Times): “It chronicles a sculptural career that is singular for its profusion of color, crafts and materials; its opening up of historical avenues closed by Minimalism; and its faith in both accessibility and advanced art, that other New. And it’s a great way for the Whitney to decamp, tossing the Met the keys, knowing that we won’t soon forget that it still owns the place.”
- “Jeff Koons: A Retrospective” by Howard Halle (Time Out NY): “I describe Koons above as the quintessential American artist, but it should be noted that American in his case pertains to a particular version of the country, one on which the sun is clearly setting, yet one also struggling — violently at times — to stay in charge. Koons’s aesthetic dovetails neatly with this reactionary climate, much like the 19th-century academic painters before modernism swept their reputations out to sea. It would require a revolution on the same order to consign Koons and his art to a similar fate. But that change seems a long way off.”
- “Watch the Throne” by Andrew Russeth (Gallerist NY): “Like the class of collectors who buy his work, Mr. Koons had to be bailed out once, in the late 1990s, when production for his sculptures ran way over budget (again, an all-American story), and I like to think of his career as one colossal artistic gamble on the wealthy growing ever wealthier. It’s worked out pretty well for him.”
- “All Aboard That ‘Great Koonsian Adventure‘” by Scott Indrisek (Artinfo): “Overall, the retrospective — which is Koons’s first in New York, and will next travel to the Centre Pompidou and Guggenheim Bilbao — is brash, fairly entertaining, and as digestible as a pack of M&Ms.”
- “Jeff Koons as the Art World’s Great White Hope” by Ben Davis (Artnet News): “New York was bumbling its way through economic calamity and building up to the yuppie, Wall Street 1980s. Everything was covered with graffiti, including the art world, which was engaged in its exoticizing love affair with urban art. The scene when Koons hit town, Rothkopf reminds us, ‘was awash with pluralism.’ And so cultural pluralism was the background context for Koons’s early explorations of his big theme: ‘taste.’ Most Koons fans know his early-career sculptures incorporating basketballs floating in dream-like stasis in tanks of clear water, originally seen in his Equilibrium show at the scrappy East Village space International With Monument, in 1985.”
- “Not a Koons Person” by Maika Pollack (Gallerist NY): “You may quietly reflect on how much the art world—and the city itself—has changed since these works went on display. But such thoughts are yours alone: there is no critique here. This is appropriation-as-homage. In a side room there are some sweet inflatable flowers magnified by modest mirrors. The whole floor is beautifully lit.”
Btw, did you know Koons just got approval to build a mega-mansion on Manhattan’s Upper East Side (East 67th Street)? New York Post‘s Page Six reports:
But his 2010 application with the Department of Buildings to gut the houses and create a mega-mansion with a pool, gym and maids quarters was rejected.
A revised plan was approved last year, records show, and a permit for the full renovation was issued on April 9, Page Six has found. The job is estimated to cost $4.85 million.
The internet was abuzz about Facebook’s “emotional contagion” study that reputedly manipulates users’ emotions. As the Atlantic reports:
We now know that’s exactly what happened two years ago. For one week in January 2012, data scientists skewed what almost 700,000 Facebook users saw when they logged into its service. Some people were shown content with a preponderance of happy and positive words; some were shown content analyzed as sadder than average. And when the week was over, these manipulated users were more likely to post either especially positive or negative words themselves.
This tinkering was just revealed as part of a new study, published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Many previous studies have used Facebook data to examine “emotional contagion,” as this one did. This study is different because, while other studies have observed Facebook user data, this one set out to manipulate it.
Now a disturbing note, via the Cornell Chronicle (emphasis mine):
The study was funded in part by the James S. McDonnell Foundation and the Army Research Office.
What is ‘artwashing‘? Well:
When a commercial project is subjected to artwashing, the work and presence of artists and creative workers is used to add a cursory sheen to a place’s transformation. Just as greenwashing tries to humanize new buildings with superficial nods to green concerns (such as wind turbines that never turn), artwashing provides similar distraction. By highlighting the new creative uses for inner-city areas, it presents regeneration not through its long-term effects — the transfer of residency from poor to rich — but as a much shorter journey from neglect to creativity.
Andy Warhol shopping for Campbell’s Soup, circa 1965:
… and now the internet will explode.
Thomas Heatherwick’s proposed Thames bridge is essentially a park, but will it be built? I’m starting to think global cities, like London and New York, are just trying to outdo one another with urban bling amenities to attract “high net worth individuals”:
After Christianity, these are the most popular religious in each US state. Some big surprises include the prevalence of the Bahai faith in South Carolina and Hinduism in Arizona and Delaware:
Required Reading is published every Sunday morning EST, and is comprised of a short list of art-related links to long-form articles, videos, blog posts, or photo essays worth a second look.