Doggone rubberment

I was sorting through copies of the New York Times that were to be put out with the trash this week and ran into a full page ad, from Christie’s showing this picture:

Jeff Koons balloon dog

No wonder Koons is smiling …serious bank ahead

Here is the ad copy:

Christie’s Announces Jeff Koons’s Balloon Dog (Orange) THE STAGE IS SET TO MAKE HISTORY Be part of this landmark auction – November 16,  JEFF KOONS (B. 1955) Balloon Dog (Orange) mirror-polished stainless steel with transparent color coating. 121x143x45 in. Executed (in 1994-2000) $35,000,000–55,000,000

OK.  Bear with me now.  Check this out (click on it to see the larger size if you care to):

Tom Ford's Balloon Dogs

Maybe even a photo of balloon dogs could fetch some big bones … just sayin’

While I was at the Huffington Post, which had a recent  article on this phenom, I glanced down at the 22 largest art sales figures for the past several years at Christies, ranging from $20M to $100M. Other than those whose names are super famous, like Rothko, Miro, Pollack, and even including their work, most of this ‘art’ looked like nothing much to my apparently ignorant eye.  In fact, other than one representational piece by Constable and Monet’s impression of lilies, I would not be too keen to have any of them hanging on my walls.  I do like Rothko, I just don’t have a modern house.  I guess I could put him in one of our bathrooms (they are very nice bathrooms, I am sure he would be pleased to know).


OK, now this I can see …

When I took the picture of Tom Ford’s window on Rodeo in Beverly Hills recently, I laughed derisively perhaps (was it amusement or snark?) at the dog sculptures.  The outfit was crazy enough, but, what was up with those dogs, I thought in my linear, conventional, middle-aged mind. Phew.  I am sooo not plugged in to the art world.  I may have heard the name Jeff Koons (or is it Dean Koons? Whatever…) but not in a thrillion years would I guess that a large, christmas-ornament fluorescent dog-for-pete-sake simulation of a carnival toy could be auctioned for, [swallowing hard], $55 MILLION dollars.

Is it me? Is this my closet marx showing?  My plebeian tastes? Lack of wit? I think these things look ridiculous.

Well wait, now, not so fast, Beth.  We may just be on to something here. With a little sleuthing, I am finding this rubberized canine passion is actually a thing.  Check this out, looks serious:


Dogged if I understand this …

And, ever heard of artist Robert C. Jackson and his balloon dog series? Read about it at Jocundist.


Puttin’ on the dog …

Coincidentally, I happened to hear that a new biography of beloved Jim Henson, who SNL’s John Belushi once irreverently introduced as that “Mucking Fuppet” (I am only quoting here), has just come out.  I may be wrong, but, given the sheer volume of joy, mirth and kindness Henson spread through his imagination and genius, what could make Koons’s single work worth exponentially more?

Brian Jay Jones Jim Henson

I have a good mind to call Tom Ford (the store, not the guy, if there is such a guy) and ask how much they want for that store display. Waddya think? A C-note? A grand? Or should I wait (as one of my sage friends here once advised me – thank you Marey) for the approach of the holidays? Surely the window will be changed, and I might snag this treasure buried in the rear alley.



11 Comments on “Doggone rubberment”

  1. OK Beth, I’m going to disagree with you here, but I know we can do that from time to time. I always tell people who think that a piece of art doesn’t look like anything much, or that looks like they could do it just as easily so why is so expensive, to get to work and try to create it. You will find it is far more difficult than it appears to be. I have always loved Cindy Sherman and have heard those comments over the years about her…big deal, she’s taking photos of herself in her apartment, I could do that, anyone could do that…well again, I say try it. As someone who regularly takes self-portraits in her own home i can tell you it is not nearly as easy as it seems to set up a shot just how you like it and take it to your satisfaction. And as far as not wanting any Rothkos hanging on your walls because they don’t match the decor – well, that’s not what art is about. It’s not supposed to match the furniture or wall paint! I have attempted to paint abstracts, for example, and believe me what may look like a few colors striped onto a canvas is so much more than that, if the colors are going to have depth and movement, etc. Try sometime to just make a sculpture – there is so much that goes into that before it ends up being a finished work, from choosing the material, to the transformation of that material (check out Arbor Lux on Flickr – I’ll send you a link to his stream – who is a fantastic sculptor and takes photos of every step of the process) and the processes that go into that transformation. I appreciate that process, and the thought that goes into creation, and the wherewithal to take a vision in one’s mind and make it concrete in whatever form. In other words, LOL. I love the Koons, and I love those sculptures from the shop window!


    • I should say, first: thank you! I want people/you to give me another point of view. Definitely.

      And, I do think these balloon dogs are funny and fun. Anything that adds mirth is a good thing.

      Now, what I said, previously:

      Well, I am not disputing any of that. I understand what you are saying about the Rothko – it might work, but I have all traditional 30’s and 19th century furniture that my great grandmother left me. I would have to think how a Rothko or the equivalent would look with that.

      I paint too and appreciate its challenges, especially oils. I use acrylics because they are so versatile and can look like oils or pastels or water colors and the process as well as the inspiration and concept take thought, planning, time, drafts, and often don’t come out the way I want. The whole thing can be daunting and time consuming and I truly get that the masters, including Picasso, whom I don’t personally care for, were geniuses that cannot be underestimated. In fact, my favorite painter Remedios Varo barely gets any recognition and I think she was a genius.

      What I am saying here, on a very light note, is that I cannot see this particular item from Koons’s work, each individual piece, being worth 55 million dollars, even if someone or some entity is willing to pay for it.

      I have seen great art from ordinary people displayed in restaurants and stores that look every bit as brilliant as the ones that get paid millions. I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but there is a certain point at which it becomes the Emperor’s New Clothes, imho.

      As for photography – who could understand the expert’s eye. Like Diane Arbus, whose subject matter I didn’t care for, but whose talent and foresight are undisputed.

      You will get no argument from me on any of that. 🙂


      • I tend to think art is worth what one can get for it, and even though the price tag may be extravagant, I can’t help but internally celebrate any time an artist can make that kind of money instead of, say, a Wall Street executive. Even if it is for what appears to by more hype that talent – at least it’s money going to an artist and not a CEO. And it gives me hope that others can perhaps still make a living at being an artist.

        And why I assumed you were not an artist or had never tried your hand at it, I’m not sure. That was an odd leap for me to make. Thanks for correcting me.


        • First off, let me say, I have painted and done this kind of thing, especially when I was younger, but I have never made any money doing it and consider it an avocation. Had I not been so brainwashed to go into a science by my Dad, I would have been a performer. So I think like most right-brain dominant people, we all have bits of this kind of talent and interest. I only do it when I am making gifts now, like painting stools for kids rooms, or painting boxes to house some jewelry, etc. How could you know that? I will have to take some pictures of what I have done and put them in a post.

          More importantly, you bring up a really vital point. AMEN to any artist who can command anywhere near what some vulture capitalists are earning off the backs of other people’s hard work. To me, THEY can be the takers and their employees, the makers (not all, just some notable examples). Def, you are right about that.

          I guess I just don’t get the value of these balloon dogs, other than as a funny tongue in cheek kind of post-modernist statement of rebellion. And, I read about the process of getting those surfaces mirror-polished. Does sound like a craft.

          I may come around yet. Meanwhile, I did love those balloon dogs in Tom Ford’s window and I truly think I am going to call and ask them where they got them and what they are doing with them.

          If I get any, I am going to put them on my front lawn, just like the wealthy neighbor did whom the HOA sued (and lost) because he put a huge impressionist sculpture out there without their permission. LOL!!!

          Oh-oh-oh and my beautiful, hand-painted frog mailbox that the same HOA made me remove! I will have to take a pic of that, the nerve of those people!!!! 🙂


    • Oh yeah, def. Whimsical – exactly my point. Just not the price tag. I think sometimes we can be a bit silly. AND, Koons made dozens of these, not just the orange. Look, I paid a fortune for a James Christensen to hang in my guest room – I still love it, and it was pricey, believe me, but I get so much enjoyment from that painting that it was worth every penny. Maybe to some billionaire in Kuwait, Koon’s for 55 mil is no more than my Christensen was to my budget. But I do want to hear what people think about this price, not necessarily the art – the price. OK, why not? The art too! I am here to learn!!!


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