THEY ARE SO HUGE
THEIR SURFACES ARE SO EXQUISITE
INTRINSICALLY THEY ARE SO MEANINGLESS
EXTRINSICALLY THEY REVEAL SO MUCH . . .
THAT THEY ARE BOBBLES FOR BILLIONAIRES
Carl Swanson wrote: Koons has made his name manufacturing toys for rich old boys—exacting pagan monuments to mass-culture triviality, like his stainless-steel balloon animals or vibrantly colored metallic Popeye, which he calls a self-portrait—and along with Damien Hirst and Takashi Murakami, he is one of a small group of power-Pop impresarios who helped define the aughts as an era of large-scale spectacle. And displayed wealth . . . The circle of collectors and dealers is so small and so awash in cash that the process can seem to an outsider a bit like a rigged game, in which a bad deal can be considerably more valuable than a good one. If you buy a giant balloon toy for $30 million, you may have spent a few million more than you had to or even expected to; but you’ve set the value of that work and also elevated the value of all of the balloon toys in your collection. Which is especially good, since there aren’t very many people who can afford to spend $30 million on a giant balloon toy, and those who can tend to take pleasure in cornering a market.