I love you this much. . .

So what can you get your sweetie this Vday to show him how much you care? How about a $23.6 million dollar, 9 foot high stainless steel heart pendant? Complete with bow.  Sorry no gift wrap for this baby.  This is Jeff Koons’ Hanging Heart in Magenta (there are five others in different colorways).  A little above your budget perhaps?  Well that’s because this piece garnered the highest price paid for art by a living artist in 2007. The next year his magenta balloon flower sold for a cool $25.7M.

 “I realized you don’t have to know anything and I think my work always lets the viewer know that. I just try to do work that makes people feel good about themselves, their history, and their potential.”  Jeff Koons

Some think he’s a high price manufacturer of artsy kitsch. Each time his art changed hands, the prices skyrocketed.  A Koons “art bubble”.  Art as commodity.  (Koons is a former stockbroker) Now the recession has hit, his violet heart sold for only $11 million. Look honey, its 50% off!

As a former machine shop owner who knows a little about stainless steel, I can tell you this work is fascinating for its sheer perfection. The balloon-like heart is a 3D mirror that reflects you, the viewer. However, as in a fun house mirror, your image distorts into various shapes as you move around it, following its curvatures. Light refracting. Images bending.  Now, I don’t know whether Koons will last as a cultural icon like Warhol, but I do think this is very clever.  What reaches our hearts without a little distortion? The play of light on the heart’s surface, the play of love – – an ever changing game of desire and perception. Reality curves as it bounces through our various colored consciousness.

Still, I’ll leave the chromium plated psychoanalysis to the people who can afford it and opt for the plebeian (but tasty) standby Godiva chocolate this V-day.  Cheers!


3 Comments on “I love you this much. . .”

  1. SigO says:

    you said, “What reaches our hearts without a little distortion? The play of light on the heart’s surface, the play of love – – an ever changing game of desire and perception. Reality curves as it bounces through our various colored consciousness.”

    I like that, quite thoughtful for what otherwise appears to be a very straightforward piece of craftsmanship. your interpretation though gives it’s status as “art” additional credence. maybe now the price should go up a bit?

    on another note, the prices paid for this art as it trades hands raises an interesting question. Who should reap the rewards of the ever increasing prices? Say Koons sold his first piece for $50,000, his second for $250,000 and his tenth for $1,000,000. Total of let’s say $3,000,000 for ten pieces. Let’s also say his ten pieces of art on the “secondary market” have traded hands to the tune of $300,000,000. That’s a wide gap between his sales price and the secondary market. Should he get a piece of the pie on each of those sales? Should “traders” get to speculate on the art and make it a commodity to their personal financial benefit and to the exclusion of Koons?

    If art becomes more of a business (as this art suggests it has), shouldn’t the artist have a right to be paid as he or she deems fit. I don’t know the business of art, though I do know an art lawyer. I don’t know if there are laws here to protect artists, but if I were Koons, I’d do everything I could to stipulate I got 10% of the gross sales price for at least as long as I were alive, a condition or lien on the title of the pieces so to speak.

    Wall Streeters, all they care about is money…. so why shouldn’t the artist too?

  2. heatherit says:

    They say money can’t buy you love, but it can sure buy you a good lawyer. Priceless!

  3. SigO says:

    and fantastic Italian wine and good Mexican tequila, all in the same evening. given the choice between love and money, I’ll pick both.


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