The inflated confidence of Jeff Koons.
Let's admit it. At this point Jeff Koons can pretty much do whatever the hell he wants. And frequently what he wants is to create impossibly spectacular art works that appear to be inflated. Well at least until now. Now, he's actually inflating his artworks; an ironic twist that seems perfectly at home in Mr. Koons oeuvre.
I've always been fascinated with the inflated tendencies of Koons' work. I think the artist is just as much about life and death as he is about a candy-colored world filled with balloon dogs and blowup bunny rabbits. Some of his earliest works, aqua lungs and life boats, are not just inflated, they are icons of how air keeps us alive. From then on, Koons returns again and again to works that capture and preserve that most life giving of gifts; breath.
So I guess it's no surprise that in his efforts to realize bigger and more impressive spectacles, Jeff Koons gives us this; a monumental inflatable sculpture of a ballerina. Oh sure, you can defend this sculpture's relevance to art in other ways. You might try and tie it to a tradition of mimicry that has defined the modern art movement. Or you might note its art historical references to the ballerinas of Degas. But for me, if you're going to defend the work of Jeff Koons, the best argument is life. The banality of life. The luxury and degradation of life. The equilibrium of life. The easy, fun ethereal moments of life. In the end, it might be a celebration of the fragility of life and the attempt of one man to live forever. Because once all that breath is gone, this ballerina crumples and collapses just like the rest of us. Maybe that's why most of Mr. Koons inflated works are reimagined in bronze or gleaming stainless steel. So they never have to suffer the pain of death. I suppose in a certain way, it's Koons' attempt at eternal life.
Of course you could say that's a bunch of academic hogwash and we should just enjoy the wonder, delight, and magnificence of Jeff Koons' Seated Ballerina at Rockefeller Center.
Creative director and art nerd contemplating travel, books, theater, and art.