Jeff Koons

50 Uncanny Artworks

Pop surrealists and lowbrow artists owe a debt of gratitude to Margaret Keane — painter of melancholic, saucer-eyed little girls. Tim Burton’s Keane biopic Big Eyes, in theaters December 25, tells the story of the tumultuous relationship Keane had with husband Walter, who took credit for her work. Amy Adams plays the artist, who struggles against her husband (played by Christoph Waltz) for control of her art. “I was as sad as that painting,” Keane said in a recent interview with Eye on the Bay, pointing to one of her famous works. “I was thinking, ‘What is all this about? Why is life so sad?’” The world-weary waifs in Keane’s paintings are doll-like and uncanny. Freud defined the uncanny as the “unhome,” or the opposite of familiar. Keane’s girls feel too fragile for this world. Here is a treasury of other artworks whose uncanny appeal has fascinated and frightened, capturing a sense of otherness, wonder, and disquiet. … Read More

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Amazing Cakes Inspired by Art

Love him or hate him (and his balloon sculptures), Jeff Koons had a pretty fantastic birthday cake this year, courtesy of his wife, fellow artist Justine Wheeler. “My Picasso ‘Kiss’ birthday cake baked by Justine. My favorite birthday cake ever!” he Tweeted earlier this week. The 1969 painting hangs in Koons’ bedroom (natch). “I think it’s about his conquests in life, his artistic and sexual conquests,” he said in a 2010 interview. (Flashbacks to Koons’ Made in Heaven series.) With a hunger for frosting and sweet, spongy layers of yumminess, we searched for other incredible cakes inspired by the art world. … Read More

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Lady Gaga Is Better Off Without Jeff Koons

“One second I’m a Koons/ Then suddenly the Koons is me.” So it shall be written, and so it shall be done — because, as you probably read yesterday, Jeff Koons has designed the cover for Lady Gaga’s new album ARTPOP. Plenty of people yesterday quoted the above lyric, which comes from the album’s lead single “Applause,” but it’s interesting to stop and think about why Gaga’s ongoing attempts at insinuating herself into the art world have led her to the door of the man famous for shooting underwhelming porn with his wife and making huge sculptures of metallic balloon dogs. … Read More

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It Doesn’t Matter That Lady Gaga’s “Applause” Is Derivative; It Matters That It’s Awful

Does it matter if Lady Gaga’s derivative? This debate has been going on ever since La Gaga first arrived on the scene, complete with an image carefully constructed from the detritus of performance art and queer culture, and the promotional budget to sell gazillions of records. It’s started up again after the release of the video for new single “Applause,” which, as with all of Gaga’s work, lifted imagery and aesthetics from a variety of sources. This morning saw the arrival of the “So what if Gaga is derivative?!” pieces, like this one in Slate. I submit that they’re answering the wrong question. … Read More

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Who’s Lady Gaga Ripping Off This Time? A Catalog of “Applause” Video Influences

This morning saw the premiere of the official video for “Applause,” the first single off Lady Gaga’s upcoming album ARTPOP. The video follows the art/pop theme, alluding to high art and pop culture alike. Gaga’s never been shy about, ahem, borrowing from other artists, of course, and this video is packed with pieces of imagery that are either clever references or blatant rip-offs, depending on your point of view. Click through to check out whose work Gaga’s been “inspired” by this time around, and let us know if you can spot any more. … Read More

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From Collaboration to Theft: What Happens When Art and Advertising Collide

Last week, the Texas Department of Transportation ordered the removal of a new large-scale sculpture designed by contemporary artist Richard Phillips for Playboy Enterprises, on the grounds that Playboy had not solicited a permit for a public advertisement. Titled Playboy Marfa, the work sits along a stretch of US Highway 90 outside of Marfa, Texas, and is comprised of a 1972 Dodge Charger sitting on a plinth next to a giant neon rendering of the Playboy logo. … Read More

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The Best and Worst Art Shows of 2013 So Far

It’s hard to say if the art world has done an adequate job of responding to world events lately. 2013 has been marked by a crisis in Mali, a new pope, a marathon bombing, and a giant meteor landing in western Russia, and unless you count this series of dashboard photographs taken by drivers in Chelyabinsk, very few painters, video makers, sculptors, or performance artists have tried to reckon with any of this. It’s enough to make you wonder if the world’s most powerful artists and art institutions aren’t also the most solipsistic. For better or for worse, a lot of the year’s most anticipated exhibitions have been disconnected not only from current events but from history. … Read More

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The Year’s Most Notorious Art Lawsuits

Civil rulings in New York are marked by their dryness and professionalism. But this can be tossed out the window when the dispute concerns a work of art. One such utterance, by state Supreme Court Justice Barbara Kapnick on Wednesday, concerned the current tiff between billionaire collector Ron Perelman and über-gallerist Larry Gagosian. “These two gentlemen ought to get together at a cocktail party in the Hamptons,” her honor ordered, and “see if they can’t get it resolved.” … Read More

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Will the Real Andy Warhol Please Stand Up?

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a new exhibit opening next week, and it’s all about Andy. Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years examines Warhol’s creative oeuvre alongside the work of dozens of high-profile artists that have taken influence directly from the Pop Art-maestro. From Jeff Koons to Ai Wei Wei to Cindy Sherman, see how the artist has affected generations of giants. Watch the influence build, compound, and transform: When Warhol turned the images of the everyday commodity of Coca Cola bottles into art, he was making a statement about US commercialism, making the banal iconic. When Ai inscribed a Neolithic vase with the logo, he made an entirely different statement about his own culture, linking the inflated value of historic artifacts and the old traditions they represent to that of a commercial product, making the iconic banal. And so on. From celebrity portraits to queer identity, get a preview of the exhibit in our slideshow. … Read More

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The Morning’s Top 5 Pop Culture Stories

1. Famed writer Gore Vidal — whose prolific output included some 25 novels, two memoirs, and several books of essays, as well as plays and TV screenplays — has died at the age of 86. “Mr. Vidal was, at the end of his life, an Augustan figure who believed himself to be the last of… Read More

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