ARTIST BEN VARNEY REACTS  TO THIS WEEK’S ‘THE PILL’ ON KOONS AT THE WHITNEY MUSEUM THE FOLLOWING WAY:

‘Hmmm. So Jeff Koons likes shiny objects. The question of whether Koons is a good artist or bad artist is something misleading – certainly he is a pop artist, and definitely he is effective in the ploughing of his trough. His persona is a complex celebration of ‘consuming’ bodies (the ‘body’ of the sculpture, the pornstar body, the shiny; reflective body) – his is an insane amplification of celebrity and the bland.

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Criticism will always wilt in his presence because he so successfully takes indulgence to a vacuous extreme which defies any further reading. And you cannot get away from how much it reflects society; that it reflects society as the media (largely) depicts it – notions of perfection, trophies of success, dubious depictions of sex (*high achievement sex*) – even while his oeuvre is a depiction of hell, he owns that hell. Just as ‘the sun’ reiterates again and again how much they know what it is people want; so they claim to speak for ‘common people – working people’.

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Art criticism could never truly doubt something which appears to reflect *what it is people want*; because art criticism is largely complicit in the philosophies at the core of a consumer economy / paradigm. It is no surprise that Koons is successful; it is psychotic work, and made to appeal to immaturity – those parts of the lizard brain kicked into life at pre-puberty which are encouraged to grow (in fear and wanting) by our salespeople. Form is unchallenging – infantile, texture is binary – comforting soft / comforting hard, surfaces / contours are clear and heavily pronounced, colours are largely primary (unrelenting), and light is crisp, cold, and drowns out any shadows.

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The audience does not work to see it or physically relate to it – the pieces are works of imposition, of control freakery – the audiences work to wonder why the pieces are portrayed as they are; and recognise aspects of their lives hoicked up onto podiums and placed as luxury objects. In his own bizarre way Koons plays the part of a writer at ‘the sun’. I can never quite let go of my associating with ‘American Psycho’ Brett Eastern Ellis though is quite the brilliant artist. Koons is just another fuckin vampire.