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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Whats up doc? Jeff Koons - Rabbit 1986

(image via)
This one little nod to our American childhood memories at the local amusement park - helped put Jeff Koons on the map and secured his spot in Pop (Art) culture. He single handedly took our adolescent dreams right out of the psychologists sofa a fed it back to us in a squeaky clean easy to love format. What's not to love? Whether you like it or not - Koons is a genius. Heretofore, sculpture was something you tended to bump into when admiring a painting in the Moma Gallery. Koons Rabbit says "look at me - I am precious yet durable." He has repeated this stroke of genius again and again by engulfing any recognizable childhood icon in polished stainless - balloon dogs, Cadbury eggs, scottish terriers, and Hanging Hearts. Like a master advertizing executive, he bathes us in these images of the hyper clean metallic sculpture over and over until the time when we go to the art buyers supermarket for the mind - we pick the brand of detergent that is most recognizable...KOONS EXTRA HEAVY DUTY STRENGTH.We love his work because we have no choice. It reminds us of our childhood when the only stresser we had was not letting go of the string for fear of the balloon floating away to the heavens. This piece became so popular he printed photographic lithographs of Rabbit- and many a framed version adorn the walls of Park Avenue residences in New York City. - Inson Dubois Wood

Rabbit, 1986 Stainless steel, 41 x 19 x 12 in.Partial gift of Stefan T. Edlis andH. Gael Neeson 2000.21 Koons’s Rabbit began as an inflatable, store-bought, plastic toy. Its transformation started when Koons bought it, blew it up, and had it cast in highly polished stainless steel. It has crinkled ears like an inflatable toy, a spherical head, and bulbous appendages, yet its face is blank. Employing a cliché, Koons has depicted a rabbit eating a carrot. While it appears to be a whimsical work of art, it also raises serious questions about what constitutes art. In its finished state it visually challenges the viewer on several levels. While it appears to be a shiny, lightweight, Mylar balloon, it is actually quite heavy and hard. Its mirrorlike surface also seduces the viewer, much as shiny silver in a jewelry store window would. As such, Rabbit addresses the heyday of luxury and consumerism in the 1980s. Rabbit’s surface also calls to mind the use of shiny metals in both historical and social contexts. According to Koons, “Polished objects have often been displayed by the church and by wealthy people to set a stage of both material security and enlightenment of spiritual nature; the stainless steel is a fake reflection of that stage.”
The sculpture’s stainless steel surface functions as a mirror and reflects everything that is exhibited around it and everyone who looks at it. It is a work of art with chameleon-like qualities—changing as its surroundings change. (text via)