Remember when I said "Art is not what, but how"? Every rule has exceptions. Case in point: Jeff Koons' statue of Popeye
. It's not badly done -- whoever Koons hired to do the actual work was very competent. (I understand that Koons pays his ghost-artists around 14 bucks an hour, which ain't much, when you consider the fact that the studio is located in Manhattan.)
. Steve Wynn paid $28 million for this thing. Twenny-eight MILLION, in this world of poverty and toil, for a statue of fucking Popeye
Don't get me wrong: I like Popeye, though not as much as I used to. (The charm of the character wore off when I moved to a town where some of the dockworkers actually sound
like Popeye. If you thought that voice was just a movie thing, you thought wrong.) But...$28 million? For Popeye?
Even Max Fleischer would have found that price obscene.
I can only hope that fumble-fingers Steve gives this statue the same loving care he gave to that Picasso
. As for Koons: That disgusting Fraudist is no artist, and I wish everyone would stop debasing that title by applying it to him.
Look, I get
camp. I don't particularly like
it, but -- like everyone else who grew up watching Godzilla movies and the old Batman TV show -- I understand that camp humor can be a legitimate source of chuckles. That said, there's a difference between a source of chuckles and a work of art. Camp humor is fine when it's cheap and low. Camp is great when you're slumming. Putting a $28 million price tag on a work of camp "art" is enough to make me vomit.
I probably shouldn't say this, but I will: A friend of mine -- a female
friend who has had relationships with other females -- took one look at this statue and remarked that this shit happens because we've let a "Gaystapo" take control of the New York art world. (They've kiddingly referred to themselves as the Homintern
.) I wouldn't mind their stewardship if they did a better job -- and if they knew something about art. But let's face it: Fraudists like Koons and their enablers in the Gaystapo have hopelessly corrupt aesthetic values. They love the kitschy and the campy. Their only true talent is for rationalizing the hideous, and for finding ways to market their hideosities to gullible one-percenters like Wynn.
What's more, I am convinced that J.C. Leyendecker -- perhaps the most gifted draftsman and painter this country has ever produced, and as gay as the proverbial spring lamb -- would have agreed with everything I've written here. If he were alive today, he'd take one look at this statue and say: "Popeye?
Are you fucking kidding?