Newsweek’s art critic, Peter Plagens, thinks Jeff Koons’s Hanging Heart is the defining art work of the Bush era:
The sculpture is a nine-foot-tall, four-foot-thick Valentine’s Day bauble suspended by a steel facsimile of a gold gift ribbon—which, along with the price tag, makes it the perfect art-world icon for the Bush era: a cloying cliché presented as profundity.
Plagens is having fun with the facile analogy. For the critic, there’s a lot of meaning in the way Koons’s work is produced in :
Bushonomical outsourced way, with more than 6,000 hours of labor provided by his 80 assistants, and then sold for millions by megadealer Larry Gagosian. We’re talking about an esthetic hedge-fund tycoon here.”
But his art didn’t really enter the cultural pantheon (museum retrospectives, record auction prices) until the reign of Bush 43. Koons’s art looks the way Bush’s pronouncements frequently sound: amiably banal at first glance. But as with the president’s simple answers to tough questions, there’s a lot of power—art-market power, in Koons’s case—backing him up.
Of course, this raises the question: Will Koons survive the end of this era?
Art and Culture in the Bush Era (Newsweek)