Friday, February 09, 2007

Jeff Koons' New Eiffel Tower

The artist Jeff Koons has proposed a giant sculpture for the grounds of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art -- a crane suspending a steaming locomotive. Museum director Michael Govan told the New York Times that he envisions the piece, which would be 161 feet tall, as a sort of Eiffel Tower for L.A.

Koons is known for his kitschy art, and may be most famous for a life-sized porcelain sculpture of Michael Jackson lounging with a chimp named Bubbles. In an online slideshow called "Making Sense of Modern Art," the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art explains the sculpture thus:
"Michael Jackson and Bubbles" is made out of porcelain, a fine ceramic material typically used for China and other fragile collectibles. In 18th-century France, elaborately decorated porcelains were displayed as a sign of wealth. In contemporary Western culture, such collecting has been taken up by the middle class in the form of Hummel figurines. Koons clearly based "Michael Jackson and Bubbles" on Hummel figurines, but he made his version extremely large-scale. In this imposing new form, they attain high art status after being suitably marketed to a community of curators and art collectors.
It's important to remember that this was made in 1988, at the pinnacle of Jackson's career. SFMoMA curator Thelma Golden compares the sculpture to Catholic saint iconography, in a secular, cotemporary form.

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