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MeTube: Jeff Koons Paints a Picture (or doesn’t)

It’s an exercise in painting-by-numbers. (Scroll down to the video to see.)

The New York studio of Jeff Koons was abuzz last night with such artworld luminaries as Richard Armstrong, Adam Weinberg, Lisa Dennison, Agnes Gund, Lowery Sims, Richard Meier and, of course, CultureGrrl, ogling his paintings-in-progress, which were executed by underlings while the artist himself mingled with the crowd:


We media minions (Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York magazine, New Yorker, NY Times, ARTnews and Art in America, all in the house) were invited for the announcement of a new Koonsmobile commissioned by BMW, not yet designed but due to be completed by the middle of this year. Last year, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art displayed BMW “art cars” by four of Koons’ illustrious predecessors.

No one would say what Jeff will be paid for this commission or where the finished car will be rolled out. Below is Koons (on the right, with two BMW honchos), after a brief speech in which he professed himself to be “really so thrilled to be involved with BMW….It’s a profound vehicle [pun intended?] to participate and to make a car on such a platform of excellence.”


Here’s the model of the first BMW art car, designed in 1975 by Alexander Calder:


And here’s the 1999 Jenny Holzer edition:


But frankly, art-lings, I wasn’t much interested in a corporate
promotion for a car I can’t afford to drive. (Well, perhaps I could, but luxury autos aren’t where I put discretionary cash.) I was much more
interested in the abundant canapés from Per Se, a restaurant where I can’t afford to eat:


I chatted a couple of times with Koons, who told me how glad he was that one of his best friends, Jeffrey Deitch, will soon be directing LA MOCA. He also mentioned that in curating the upcoming New Museum show of the collection of another good friend, Dakis Joannou, he’s interested in what he called the “inside/outside” aspects of the works to be displayed, and also the ways in which they relate to “the body.” Although he believes that Joannou owns more of his works than any other collector, only one Koons piece—“One Ball Total Equilibrium Tank,” the first work acquired by Joannou—will be included in the New Museum show, he told me.

But my greatest fun came in talking to the engagingly personable, down-to-earth Ed Molisani, who showed me how he paints a Koons:

Wanna know what CultureGrrl’s driving, instead of a BMW? I’ll Twitter it, a bit later. (Full disclosure: I have eaten at Per Se—at a couple of press lunches!)

an ArtsJournal blog