Friday, September 12, 2008

Liberté! Fraternité! (But hold the egalité...)

Jeff Koons, Rabbit, 1986, currently being exhibited in the Salon de l’Abondance at Versailles. Image from

I've been thinking about the sheer perplexing magnificence of this photograph all morning. Don't know what to say about it really. An outrage? An important intellectual enquiry? An upholder of tradition, a usurper, or a circuit breaker? Probably all of the above, all at once.

More photos here.

Here's what Koons has to say about his show in the Sun King's palace at Versailles, his first exhibition in a French museum.

"Contemporary art is so imprisoned in the present that juxtaposing new works with old ones allows you to rediscover a connection between history and the history of art."

"The baroque is the ideal context for me to highlight the philosophical nature of my work."

In other Marie Antoinette moments this week, the Guardian's Ian Jack suggests sending snobby gallerinas to the tumbrels (and then letting Damien Hirst break out the formaldehyde). Democracy, Jack suggests, is everywhere in the artworld's rarified air right now, though looking at the prices works are commanding it's not to be confused with equality. Nonetheless, it's time for a revolutionary shake-up of the old hierarchies. All comers are welcome to Hirst's auction of his art at Sotheby's later this month: any old spare parts baron or dodgy oligarch from what is euphemistically termed the artworld's "emerging markets" can wave a saleroom paddle without the ignominy of being vetted first by gallerists. The only qualification is deep pockets.

If popular revolution is the artworld's new black, New Zealand's most successful fashionista Karen Walker is all ready to share a little cake with the peasants, having just brought out a new diffusion line sold through Myers in Australia with a price point of under $150, coming soon to this country. The world of international fashion isn't for the faint-hearted, though: when quizzed recently by a Press journo [not yet online] about whether it wasn't a bit tiring flying round the world all the time to launch new ranges, Walker quipped, "If you don't want jet lag, get a job at Pak 'n Save."

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