Visual puns don’t get much better than this. A little red dog balloon sculpture by the simultaneously celebrated and reviled artist Jeff Koons has finally gotten what it deserves. Damaged and missing a few limbs, it sits on a silver platter like the head of John the Baptist waiting to become the punch line for a joke. But this work is not the product of some overeager Columbia MFA student. It’s actually a total accident. And for the record, it’s no longer worth big bucks because of its damage. A totally worthless Koons?
In 2010, Columbia University received a donation of an extensive collection of Edward Gorey items from Andrew Alpern, an architectural historian and attorney who spent four decades acquiring the illustrator’s work. The 700 objects in the collection include almost every edition of every book Gorey published, as well as drawings, etchings and pieces of his design and illustration work. Gorey Preserved, now exhibited at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia University, is a glimpse into the collection, and into Gorey’s mischievously dark world, where death could be as playful a character as a cat on a unicycle.