On Wednesday the current Jeff Koons retrospective at the Whitney was interrupted by an unscheduled intervention when a man splashed red liquid across one of the gallery walls before signing it with a marker. The ‘performance’ was over in a matter of minutes: Koons’ big shiny things were unscathed, the man was led away by security, and the gallery was closed for a couple of hours while it was repainted.
Turns out the vandal in question is a Toronto-based performance artist called Istvan Kantor who goes by the pseudonym Monty Cantsin. He works largely with body fluids and is best known for spattering large ‘X’s’ of his own blood onto gallery walls. Past targets include the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Canada’s National Gallery in Ottawa and the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin, among others. Despite multiple arrests for these self-described ‘donations’, the artist has stated that his anti-institutional ‘blood campaign’ is ongoing…
Larry Gagosian is facing the loss of two of his most well known artists. Last week Damien Hirst’s company Science Limited announced; “Larry Gagosian and Damien have reached an amicable decision to part company.” It was only in January that Gagosian committed to showing the artist’s complete suite of spot paintings at all Gagosian galleries worldwide. The dealer has represented Hirst for 17 years.
Hirst’s departure was followed a day later by that of Yayoi Kusama, who has shown with Gagosian since 2009. (Another Gagosian artist – Jeff Koons – is still ostensibly in the stable, but has lined up a solo show at rival gallery David Zwirner in the New Year). In the mean time, Hirst and Kusama continue to be represented by White Cube and Victoria Miro/Ota Fine Arts respectively.
Jeff Koons is no stranger to the world of fashion. In 2006 the artist collaborated with Stella McCartney on her Summer collection and last year shot an editorial for the September issue of Harpers Bazaar. His grinning mug even made it on to the cover of the January ‘Art’ issue of Harpers China.
The artist’s latest sartorial venture is with fashion designer Lisa Perry, who Koons has teamed up with to create a capsule collection inspired by some of his key works (including the 1986 steel sculpture ‘Rabbit’). But you better save your pennies if you fancy donning some artsy threads because they don’t come cheap – dresses start at $2,000. Perhaps that’s why Koons has thrown in a bangle option; a steal at only $300 a pop. Check out the full range here.
Russian billionaire Dasha Zhukova loves ink. When she released her art/fashion crossover magazine Garage (named after her Moscow-based contemporary art space) in August, she got the likes of Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Jake and Dinos Chapman, John Baldessari and Paul McCarthy to design tattoos to feature in the first issue. Now she’s backing Skin, a new documentary about tattoo culture directed by filmmaker Ryan Hope. While the trailer above doesn’t give much away, the doco follows the experience of five ‘human canvases’ who allowed themselves to be tattooed with designs by artists including the aforementioned Hirst and Koons as well as Richard Prince and Raymond Pettibon. Following its recent debut at The Garage in Moscow, Skin will screen at Christies in London on November 16th.
It’s a victory for balloon dog enthusiasts everywhere with the news that Jeff Koons has backed down from his intellectual property dispute with the makers and suppliers of a series of balloon dog bookends. Imm-Living, the manufacturers of the bookends and Park Life, the gallery that sells them, have both received letters from Koons’ lawyers stating that their fabrication and sale could continue under the provision that the product was not tied to Koons in any way (a little difficult given the artist’s hissy fit, no?).
Following the receipt of a cease-and-desist letter from Koons’ lawyers, Park Life took the bull by the horns and sued Koons, asking the federal court in San Francisco to declare that the business wasn’t infringing on the artist’s rights. Lawyer Jedediah Wakefield who was working pro bono for Park Life observed that Koons’ lawyers “…very quickly indicated they weren’t interested in putting up a fight.” Clowns the world over can breath a sigh of relief.
Jeff Koons is suing San Francisco gallery Park Life and Canadian manufacturing business Imm-Living for producing and selling bookends that he thinks resemble his ‘Balloon Dog’ sculptures. Koons (who has himself been sued on numerous occasions for appropriating popular imagery) claims that the businesses are violating his intellectual property.
But can Koons really copyright a balloon animal? As Park Life’s federal complaint asserts, ‘As virtually any clown can attest, no one owns the idea of making a balloon dog, and the shape created by twisting a balloon into a dog-like form is part of the public domain.’ Despite cease and desist orders from Koons’ lawyers, Park Life continues to sell the bookends, for now.