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Your favorite New Museum curatin’, balloon dog makin’, workshop ownin’ superstar contemporary artist, Mr. Jeff Koons, has now expanded his resume to include editorial photography for the New York Times Magazine.
And this isn’t just any old assignment. This is a bona-fide cover story on gay animals. For the cover shot, emblazoned with a rainbow-lettered title, Jeff shoots a pair of bunnies (sexual orientation unknown) necking against a backdrop of daffodils. Koons moves on through couples of swans, kittens, fish and Chinese silkie chicks for the piece’s accompanying slideshow, all shot with the same deadpan, kitsch gaze that drives the artist’s most famous work.
Instead of shooting himself and his porn star ex-wife copulating, Koons seems to have moved on to subjects with less visible PDA. This pair of cocks, though, might be a little risque for some audiences. Hen porn?
The New York Times Magazine story by Jon Mooallen, in itself worth the read, examines the assumption that homosexually paired animals should be considered gay. Should humans force their own gender constructions on the natural world?
I have to say, editorial photography seems to suit Koons. Though these images are nothing spectacular — some have the glazed look of stock photography and lack the artist’s post-pop magic — magazines are an interesting venue for Koons’ vision. The publications are mass-produced, after all, and the glossy sheen of a well-produced cover might be just the place for the artist as commercial photographer.