the sacred vs. the profane

the sacred vs. the profane
in 1988, controversial artist Jeff Koons created a monstrous ceramic of Micheal Jackson and Bubbles. it’s fascinating reading about the work. although created prior to Jackson’s last decade of accelerated strangeness, the art and notes about it cast an eerie commentary on his life and media image today.


from the Broad Art Foundation:

In a series of works he called “Banality”, Koons creates sculptures of dimensions and details monstrous and absurd. These works, like Michael Jackson and Bubbles, demand attention by virtue of their size and seductive porcelain surfaces, yet they disturb as well. The dead white of Jackson’s skin, his glamorous pose with Bubbles in matching clothing invites a chilling range of questions about celebrity and image making.

art critique:

Subject: Michael Jackson and Bubbles as part of the Banality show, gold polychromed statue that plays up a false aura or allure; kitsch and the Hyperreal; the sacred vs. the profane.
Style: slick, shiny, seductive surface heightened for that hyperreal effect; turns the tradition of figurative sculpture into kitsch; false auras and the degraded sublime. Context: late capitalistic, consumer-oriented society in which values are in question; object-lust, but objects emptied of soul, vanitas imagery and the hyperreal; after so many plastic surgeries Michael Jackson was already hyperreal even before Jeff Koons got to him; cult of celebrity.

bonus irony – it’s sale has an equally bizarre story, and hit shocking numbers…

Over the past few seasons, Koons’s art has been escalating in value at auction and this lot has an ambitious estimate of $3,000,000 to $4,000,000. It sold for $5,615,750 including the buyer’s premium.

Posted on March 16th, 2005 in Word on the Street | Permalink