All of Koons's best art - the encased vacuum cleaners, the stainless-steel Rabbit (the late-twentieth century's signature work of Simulationist sculpture), the amazing gleaming Balloon Dog, and the cast-iron re-creation of a Civil War mortar exhibited last month at the Armory - has simultaneously flaunted extreme realism, idealism, and fantasy.
I love art dealers. In some ways, they're my favorite people in the art world. Really. I love that they put their money where their taste is, create their own aesthetic universes, support artists, employ people, and do all of this while letting us see art for free. Many are visionaries.
When the purse strings tighten up at museums, the institutions usually cut back and cancel shows. That's exactly the wrong reaction. In fact, now is a good time for them to loosen up - a chance to breathe and experiment a little - and go for the juicy solution lurking in their own basements.
As I went through 'This Progress,' one of two performance pieces by Tino Sehgal that transform Frank Lloyd Wright's emptied-out spiral into a dreamy Socratic-purgatorial journey, the museum literally fell away. I was suspended in some weird nonspace.
More and more in the art world are becoming moralistic, telling artists and critics what they should and shouldn't write, do, or make art about. Never mind the intellectual hypocrisy of this: Those who violate the clublike code are made out to be wrong, immoral, corrupt.
Rumors sound of galleries asking artists for up-sized art and more of it... Everything winds up set to maximum in order to feed the beast. Bigness is not all bad. There's something pleasing about large, well-lit spaces. But the bigness has also led to a narrowing of sensibilities, by making it very hard for any but the glitziest works to get traction.
Works of art often last forever, or nearly so. But exhibitions themselves, especially gallery exhibitions, are like flowers; they bloom and then they die, then exist only as memories, or pressed in magazines and books.
Art is good, bad, boring, ugly, useful to us or not. It does or doesn't disturb optical monotony, and succeeds or fails in surmounting sterility of style or visual stereotype; it creates new beauty or it doesn't.