But is it Art?
The famous American band leader, composer, and pianist Duke Ellington said, “If it sounds good, and feels good, it is good!” You could equally say that if something looks good, and feels good, that it is good. But is it art? There are artists, and there are con artists, and I personally would place such artists as Julian Schnabel, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, and Thomas Kinkade in the latter category. Thomas Kinkade, who became the most popular and richest artist in America, called himself “The Painter of Light.” He was really in my estimation Thomas King-kitsch, the painter of trite, and he ran a very large art factory churning out his poorly researched paintings of mainly English thatched cottages. At least he did personally produce some of the work, which is something that Jeff Koons does not do. He directs other people to fabricate his ideas for artworks, and most are not very original, such as his balloon dogs. Although other clowns were producing balloon dogs long before Jeff Koons was born, Koons was shrewd enough to place a patent on the design. It’s amazing that no one had bothered to do so before, so Koons grabbed the balloon dog design, and now he has exclusive rights to it! However, Jeff Koons has been taken to court for plagiarism on some of his other artworks. I consider his giant balloon hearts, lobsters and balloon dogs to be just hot air! Koons made the headlines when he married the Italian porn star Ilona Staller (aka La Cicciolina) and had his 25 to 30 art fabricators produce sculptures and photographs of him having sex with his wife. Koons made the headlines again in 2007 when his giant artwork of a birthday card heart, “Hanging Heart” sold for $23.6 million. Damien Hirst is famous for his pickled sharks, sheep and donkeys, and Julian Schnabel is famous for his broken plate paintings, and they, like the other two artists have also made large sums of money with their shock and gimmick tactics. Hype, branding, and the high price tag is what helps to sell the work of these faddish artists, but fads will always eventually fade. You can check out the links below to see the works of all four artists, and if it looks and feels good to you, it must be art?
There are many reasons why someone would pay $23.6 million for something called art, but the price for me would be the last factor in deciding if it was great art or not. When I have been in the presence of great art, it has been an emotional moment, and a profound experience for me. Great art speaks to us, touches our inner being, and transcends all time.