A Reaction To Jeff Koons ‘St John The Baptist’


Modern Art by gps1941.

Excellent photo found here…gps1941 photostream here.

I’m not really one for the shock of pop-art, nor do I find the idea of high and low mixed entirely compelling (too easy a novelty idea itself, moralistic and confining), but when I went to the Seattle Art Museum this past weekend, I started laughing out loud.  

It was something in the familiarity of the figures and their blank stares (this is a kitsch trinket par excellence, I remember thinking Bob’s Big Boy,) and the obvious juxtaposition with deep religious and Christian themes that had me for a moment.  The craftsmanship is excellent (porcelin) yet it still maintains a vaguely repulsive air about it as many tchotchkes do (a whiff of emotional desperation that comes from clinging to such items?) which can’t be easy to achieve.

Anyways, maybe it was St. John causally pointing upstairs to “the big guy”  that made me laugh, or that smiling little pig.

Addition:  An emailer suggests that my post reeks of snobbery and too-rigid boundaries of what good art ought to be, and that’s what Koons is trying to address, mainly with the quality of his work.  Oh well.

More On Koons and his work here.

Robert Hughes wrote a review for Time entitled the “Princeling Of Kitsch.”

Also On This Site:  Denis Dutton suggests art could head towards Darwin (and may offer new direction from the troubles of the modern art aimlessness and shallow depth) Review of Denis Dutton’s ‘The Art Instinct’

Denver’s Devil Horse may be flirting with kitsch: From The Wall Street Journal: Denver’s Mustang Or ‘Devil Horse’

and I like his work:…Joan Miro: Woman

Add to Technorati Favorites

3 thoughts on “A Reaction To Jeff Koons ‘St John The Baptist’

  1. Thanks for these comments. I’m a docent at SAM and have been thinking about including this work on my tour just because I find it so …… well …. funny. Glad I’m not the only one. Your comment about Bob’s Big Boy is perfect. I may steal it ….

  2. I enjoyed the kitschy humor of the work, but was surprised that no one has referenced the Da Vinci painting in the Louvre that this is based on. Koon’s work says more about religious iconography than about religion itself. I hope Elizabeth will show folks copies of the Leonardo work when she is giving her docent talk.

Leave a Reply