|Jeff Koons, Balloon Dog (Orange) (1994-2000)|
Jed Perl, in his wonderful, indignant, agitated "The Cult of Jeff Koons" (The New York Review of Books, September 25, 2014), objects to what he sees as a consensus among certain critics, including The New Yorker’s Peter Schjeldahl, that Jeff Koons’s art is “criticism-proof.” He says, “In The New Yorker, Peter Schjeldahl, certainly a man of discriminating tastes, basically announced that there was no way of arguing with his [Koons’s] success. Koons is ‘the signal artist of today’s world,’ Schjeldahl wrote. ‘If you don’t like that, take it up with the world.’ ” He further says,
In an earlier piece on Koons, Schjeldahl says, “Can you dislike Balloon Dog (Orange) (1994-2000), a ten-foot-high representation, in chromium stainless steel with a coppery tint, of a cartoony canine formed with twists in a long balloon?” ("Funhouse," The New Yorker, June 9, 2008). Right there, in his pleasurable description (“cartoony canine formed with twists in a long balloon”), I detect a strand of Schjeldahl’s aesthetic. Later, in the same piece, it’s evident in his description of Koons’s Hanging Heart (Blue / Silver) (1994-2006) – “sweet as dime-store perfume.” Schjeldahl’s response to these particular Koonses has nothing to do with “the mind-bending pressures of a global consumer society,” as alleged by Perl, and everything to do with pure delight – the pleasure principle in his experience of Koons’s art.