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Another week, another Summer Friday! It’s the gift that keeps giving, although this week was more like a Summer Thursday since we have Friday off for Independence Day.

This Thursday a friend and I took at gander at the Jeff Koons retrospective at the Whitney. I’m a little sad that the Whitney is moving to the Highline soon. The old building is so cool in a 70’s exposed concrete kind of way. I wonder what they’ll do with the space once it’s gone? I think it would make a pretty smashing department store.

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For me, the best part of the Koons exhibit was the fourth floor, i.e. all of his Celebrate works, like the enormous balloon dog and the 10′ pile of play-doh.

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The size of the sculptures and the intense detail in which they’d been created impressed me. Some of the inflatables looked so real that you could see the tiny wrinkles where the “latex” bunched around a turning point–you almost felt that if you squeezed one, it would make that rubbery squawk noise, rather than be smooth, cool stainless steel. I also loved the stainless steel interpretations of classical Greek sculptures, which felt as if they were simultaneously alive, sexual and yet melting and flowing like that scene out of the Terminator.

The earlier works were, admittedly, a bit lost on me, especially the series where Koons married a porn star and had paintings done of them together in various compromising poses. For me, it felt like a snarky trick: Nearly every man dreams about sex with a porn star. Jeff Koons is the only one annoying enough to make it into a 25′ painting starring himself and call it “art”.

The whole experience made me think a lot about the real and the manufactured–how value is primarily learned rather finite. I’ve been told that Balloon Dog (Orange) sold for over $50 million. Standing in front of a version of the piece itself, you suddenly understand why.

And for kicks and giggles, a selfie with Bubbles and MJ …

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Jeff Koons: A Retrospective
The Whitney Museum
June 27 – October 19th
 

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