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!