New York-based artist Terence Koh has a new baby, according to Paper Magazine, but the art world still can’t decide if it’s art or not. The move has some wondering if Koh is attempting to one up artist Maurizio Cattelan and his classic “mini-me” sculpture by adopting a baby who he plans to mold into a miniature version of himself.
A bad boy artist of the pre-recession art world, Koh collectors woke up in the fall of 2008 to realize that they had no idea why they bought his work. “I was doing lines [of cocaine] in the bathroom of one of the Peres Projects parties and all of a sudden the sculpture was delivered to my TriBeCa loft,” said Andrew Derbekov, a Wall Street trader who has since moved to a more modest three-bedroom apartment in Murray Hill. He says he has no room for the massive Koh sculpture that is titled, “Untitled” (2007).
Most recently, Koh has tried to stay relevant through his friendship with pop superstar Lady Gaga, and even tagged along for a tour of the “Marina Show” at MoMA with chief curator Klaus Biesenbach. But art world insiders suggest that his latest “work,” if it is indeed art, may be what guarantees his legacy in the long run.
The New Museum is planning a retrospective of Koh’s ouevre. “His life is art,” the publicity department of the New Museum said via email after I asked about the show. “The name is perfect, Bei Bei [pronounced bay-bay or baby], and obviously suggests it’s art. He’s an artist with a vision,” they said.
His latest work, if it is art, is an obvious nod to the classic “mini-me” sculpture by Cattelan, which has been a highly-coveted item for any major contemporary collection. There has been no suggestion that Koh would ever part with Bei Bei, though rumors abound that mega-collector Dakis Joannou has already been asking about ways to “buy” the work. “Don’t tell Dakis what he can’t have,” said one art consultant who wished to remain anonymous.
Others have suggested that Koh is already preparing for a second child, and the betting pool at Hyperallergic office has “Mi Otha Bei Bei” as the obvious favorite.
Koh didn’t return our calls at the time of this post.
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