Sex and the Single artist

Jeff Koons has lost his law suit, the one that wanted to reduce his lawyers fees from four million dollars to two million, which he has already paid. The law suit was in relation to his porn star ex wife, and his lovely little child Ludwig who was awarded to Mr Koons (perhaps because of puritanical standards in America, where the idea of a porn star as a wife seems ridicules, maybe because the wife seems just this side of unstable.). She up and left for her home country of Italy, which does not intervene in domestic matters as it relates to the courts, and Mr Koons has spent the last 5 years and 4 million dollars failing to get his son back.

The court case, and the internet chatter about it as provided an interesting code to what is happening when it comes to art and sex, art and model and art and politics, especially the politics of idenity.

One of the arguments in court, was that it was not a legitimate marriage, because both of them used their sexuality as a process and a product, ie the porn star can never have sex w/o it being a performance and an artist who uses his body as a tool is in cahoots with that act, like two con artists playing three card monte in their own personal red light district. If they were performing then, when does there performance end. Are they using Ludwig Koons as an odd kind of ammunition. Koons has said in Artnews, the shiny American/commercial publication that all of his art is now made to pay the lawyers and show his kid that he loves him, but most of his work, aside from the stuff that he did with Il Stona, was childish and toying with ideas of commerce and work.

That said is Koons work weaker now that he is doing it for his kids. There are large series of mirrors in primary colours that are cut in the shape of Eeyroe (think Disney not Milne) that are cheap, easy, banal, and silly–but not in a way that the Popples or Pink Panthers were. Even though he was a commodity Broker, there was always a tension between what was “commercial” and what was “art” in Koons work, its a tension that seems lost here. It’s also lost in his so called easy fun paintings– the name seems obvious, but this was a man who called a statue of four angels pushing along a pig Ushering in Banality. In that case he was poker faced serious, he wanted us to think of his work as banal, reclaim banality as a virtue, and do the work concerning craft and art, work that had not been done in High Art for a very long time. There was no easy exit for an audience that was used to escape hatches marked irony, farce or theory. The idea of Easy/Fun, how large they are, how badly constructed, and how looking at them seems to be nothing more then a game of pick the easy reference seems an abandonment of his early game playing.

But then the topiary sculptures are really strong– reviving a dead craft, making renewed public spaces , treating decoration as high art, and being joyous and happy are all things Koons is good at, along with balls out craft. There might be hope left for him as an artist, but I doubt it, esp. With losing this law suit.

Can we make the distinction b/w art as biographical indecision vs art as commercial intercessor for biographical purpose, or more crudely, is the art that he made for Ludwig to enjoy better then the art he made to pay the lawyers ? Can we tell the difference ? I think the 30 foot tall Scotty Dogs made of flowers are for Ludwig, others think that it is the Eeyore mirrors.

There ar e other aspects of commerce here as well, aspects that are less seemly. There are lawyers watching hardcore in their office under the auspices of research, returning the child’s mothers status from wife to whore–whore on two levels, whore because she is acting pornographic and whore because she is paid to sexually perform.

(I have mostly talked about Money here, but there is also sex.–Koons starred in a series of works about him and his wife called The Made In Heaven series, which negotiate the protestant sexual ethic by making whores into wives, and wives into whores–by refusing to play the games that the Americans set out, and making both commerce and art into it–it precluded the internet age of voyuerism and home taping. But he seems ashamed of those series, he talked of being humiliated by having to pay lawyers to watch his wife fuck on camera–and all of the evidence that he did similar things for different goals in the 80s have been bought up by him and destroyed–the originals at least–the ironic thing is that one google image search for Made In Heaven Jeff Koons will show his blandly pretty face, chest, cock and ass.)