Jeff Koons’ special brand of kitsch, reproduced to an immaculately mechanical finish, inhabits the ‘Artist Rooms’ of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. The pieces are mostly stretched across long and narrow rooms, resulting in what feels closer to a walkway than a space for contemplation.
No matter though, as the stunning disparity between the intellectual and aesthetic content of Koons’ work demonstrates; once it’s been seen it’s been understood. All of the pieces are incredibly slick, and some are undeniably beautiful - his series of animal-shaped multicoloured-mirrors are particularly resounding testaments to the giddy heights of Koons’ finish. It sometimes seems a waste then, when the search for meaning leaves one eyeing a vertiginous abyss.
Like most products on the shelves of designer stores or pound shops, the energy is invested in making something that will sell, be it on the merit of its looks or its price tag (in the case of Koons, it is both). In his practice, Koons faithfully reflects these industries by prioritising the above concerns over the artistic creation of something that is intellectually, socially or spiritually concerned. Despite Koons’ own myopia on matters of concept, it is still possible to infer important realities extant beyond the works themselves. Namely, that in a market-driven art world where an artist's success is determined primarily by the price their works fetch at auction (as opposed to whether they are emotionally or intellectually stimulating) vacuous artists like Jeff Koons are inevitable.