Artist Jeff Koons explains his massive and wonderful Play-Doh sculpture

Hoo-boy, that there’s some tasty looking bait… nope, not rising to it. Sophomore sculpture studio was a solid year of that argument; there were always tears before bed.


I’d also have to nominate Anish Kapoor.


I will. Technique absolutely has dick all to do with art. It’s why we have things like an understanding of perspective and vanishing points. And how if this guy had made a physical pile of Play-doh or clay it wouldn’t have been nearly as impressive as casting it in metal.

Or in your example, it looks great with good technique. Free hand would have made it looked unpleasing- unless it was organic and flowing (like maybe a pin striper) in which case it would look good again.

Technique is just one facet of art. By itself it is nothing, but combined with composition, subject matter, and other elements, it becomes art.

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It’s such a fine line between stupid, and clever

-David St. Hubbins


The important distinction in both cases is that the ‘master’ is still the person responsible for setting the technical standard of the work. It’s a model where the ‘master’ craftsman trains the apprentices in a style and unique process with the expectation that the apprentice can boost production, but also with the understanding that at some point an apprentice may have a workshop of their own.

Patrons would still expect that the master would physically be involved in creating a piece of work (in proportion to what they are willing to pay). If you pay for Rubens to paint your portrait, he will show up and paint your portrait, though some assistants would have prepared the canvas and ground, and may even paint everything except the portrait. Hell, he might only have done the finishing touches, but you are damn sure that Rubens could paint circles around the apprentices (Van Dyck notwithstanding).

Koons, to my knowledge, doesn’t do any of the technical creation or personally possess any expertise in that regard. He is much more like a CEO or star-architect, who might make some rough sketches, but it’s the experts who execute everything. Indeed, they’re the only ones capable of it. It’s a much more modern division-of-labor arrangement than the an older workshop model. (And I don’t want to diminish his role too much, since I’m sure he is directing everything, broadly and minutely… that’s a specific and important skill in an of itself)

And like I said, the Koons model is pretty standard for many industries past and present. If you’re ok with that, fine. A lot of people are pretty happy being a technician (I am for instance).

The thing about Koons though, is that the artwork itself embodies those business arrangements to an exceptional degree and IMO magnifies it’s ugliness. The very content is to take mass-produced items, anonymous creations, and pay highly-skilled artists to re-create them as “one-of-a-kind” art pieces that sell for millions of dollars, from which Koons disproportionately profits. To some that makes the work ‘clever’ or something, but for me it’s a vapid waste of time. Lots of other art out there that I’d rather engage with.


…it is free hand.

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Yeah but, Chihuly blows…

…heh, heh…

… I can’t stand that guy, or his work.

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I see what you did there :+1:

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Oh, I misread it. WITH OUT the use of masking! Bravo! Extremely impressive.

This isn’t art so much as it’s investart: art created for investment purposes. These are works designed to act as currency for the oligarch set; a way to park, launder, and move money around the world. It looks nice the way a $100 bill looks nice, but is it art that we should care about? I don’t think so.

A couple of years ago I got to meet one of my favourite comic artists, Pierre Clement. He’d moved on from the very flat look I’d initially known him for to a much more rendered style, and I asked him what 3D software he used, and was surprised to hear “none” - everything is drawn by hand onto giant gridded sheets:

(Sorry for video link - the net isn’t very forthcoming with single images of the stuff I’m talking about)

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I love this piece of art. Like Pollack where does the eye rest. Try looking at this and not find a face, smiling lips just open… kinda like looking at clouds for me… colourful plastacine clouds. Yes more of this please!

Jack Smith used to complain about this whole school of pop artists as “cutesie-pie art.” As he said about Warhol, "He was a marketer…A package designer…He turned around & sold them the empty package…and they bought it!"

And come to think of it, I seem to recall from the Yayoi Kusami documentary that she was making inflatables well before Koons did. He attended her show, then started making his own inflatables with all the attendant hoop-la & big-budget marketing. And they bought it…


I love hearing artists talk about their work: very often the artist is a wanker and wrong about the significance of the work. You can’t separate art from the world it was created in, and certainly not from its creator.

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