As his latest Balloon Dog (this time of the orange variety) goes under the hammer at Christie’s tonight, it is worth noting that, when given the chance, its creator, Jeff Koons, has consistently described this particular work of his as a ‘Trojan Horse’.
From the current Christie’s sale:
To the yellow version, on view at the Cantor Roof Garden of the Metropolitan Museum of Art back in 2008:
Then all the way back to a 1997 interview:
The late, great Arthur C. Danto in his essay ‘Banality and Celebration: The Art of Jeff Koons’ (2004) dubs Balloon Dog as Koons’ ‘masterpiece’, with the original Trojan version – ‘one of Odysseus’ wily ideas’ – as a remarkable parallel. However, the repeated warnings of Koons as to the duplicity of his ‘gift’ makes him sound less its creator, an Odysseus, and more like its potential or intended recipient, a Trojan, and specifically, Laocoön. (And we all know what happened to him!)
So, for anyone out there thinking about bidding on Balloon Dog (Orange) tonight, here’s a warning for you, straight from the horse’s mouth. And this warning comes neither from some wily Odysseus, nor from a scheming Sinon, but from Laocoön himself. Jeff Koons, may not be an ancient priest of Apollo, but at least he can now claim to be a contemporary ‘prophet’ (or Diogenes?) of the Art World. Cave Canem!