Wednesday, May 15, 2013


On Saturday in New York we were able to see not one but two big exhibitions of Jeff Koons. Infamously the two shows were on at two competing dealer mega galleries Gagosian and David Zwirner.  David Zwirner has only ever lost one of his big-time artists (that was Franz West and he went to Gagosian) and Gagosian doesn't like losing anything so all eyes are on how this Koons arrangement evolves. And how the hell Koons pulled off  this doubles stunt is anyone’s guess but it's definitely a muscle flexing demo of his pulling power with rich collectors. Anyway there were Koons to burn at both barn-sized spaces but very different approaches to their ARIPs (Audience Relationship Interface Protocols).

Gagosian was guard heavy. Ten of them in fact (more than one per work which were in fairness finger-licking shiny stainless steel) and dressed in black along with a grey-suited boss who scuttled around repositioning his team like a neurotic cricket captain adjusting the out field. No touching, no photography, no bags. When we did take a photo from the street through the window a guard inside was not a happy person.

At Zwirmer's a couple of guards handled the whole area. Photography was fine, posing in front of the works was ok and bags and backpacks didn’t seem to be a problem.

Then we went to Zwirner’s other gigantic gallery on the next block to look at sculpture from another galaxy altogether.

Images: Guarding Koons at David Zwirner Gallery in Chelsea.