The US Embassy in Beijing Highlights Jeff Koons’s Art
This Jeff Koons sculpture sits in front of the new US Embassy in Beijing that opened today. The choice of Koons as a symbol of America in the country with the most consequence in coming years is implicit recognition of the artist’s stature in world culture–not just the art market. Here the New York Sun profiles the building itself. The Art Newspaper gives more details on the rest of the art in the building. But Felix Salmon at Portfolio points out that the art budget was measley in comparison to accepted guidelines for public art. And New York’s redoubtable Jerry Saltz offers valuable discussion of the artist and his work capping off with this observation:
That things as mundane as balloon dogs, basketballs, and coloring books can heft such phenomenological weight is a testament to the power of Koons’s art. [ . . . ] Koons still garners some of the most scathing reviews around. He’s been accused of unabashed cynicism, of self-promotion, of hype. Just last month the Chicago Tribune dismissed his entire oeuvre as failing “every known test for quality” (I’d love to see these tests). Maybe some of Koons’s recent work is the sculptural equivalent of a dazzlingly polished Abba song. But even something as impeccable and weightless as that isn’t bad. Whether you like his work or not, Koons allows you to toggle between abstraction and reality like few other contemporary artists.