Lame Adventure 433: A Koons of One’s Own

If you happened to visit Rockefeller Center, as I did recently, you might notice a 37-foot tall sculpture weighing 150 tons festooned with 50,000 flowers that looks distinctly like either a monumental Chia Pet (continuing where last week’s Lame Adventure left off), or half a child’s hobby horse and half a child’s dinosaur toy  in front of the Comcast Building* at 30 Rock.

Comcast Building

The Comcast Building.

Say hello to Split-Rocker, a sculpture by artist Jeff Koons standing where the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree will tower three months from now.

Split-Rocker

Split-Rocker (the bronze gilded statue is full-time resident, Prometheus).

If I had any say about this, I would suggest that “we” throw tradition to the wind, save a tree and hang holiday bells over Split-Rocker. Unfortunately, that is not in the cards. This whimsical exhibit will close on September 19th. But the Whitney is currently showing a retrospective of Koons’s work through October 19th.

Koons designed Split-Rocker in 2000. It was originally exhibited at the Palais des Papes in Avignon, France. He made two and owns one, the one on display in New York. Once it is dismantled, maybe it will head into storage in his garage in York, Pennsylvania. The other Split-Rocker belongs to billionaire industrialist, Mitchell P. Rales and his wife, Emily. They’ve had theirs on display in Glenstone, their private museum in Potomac, Maryland, for about a year. If you cannot visit New York in the next four days, you might want to give them a call.

Koons claims that his inspiration for this sculpture was a toy pony owned by one of his sons and a toy dinosaur.

Pony side.

Pony side.

Dino side.

Dino side.

The dinosaur owner was not identified, but considering the proliferation of toy dinosaurs that have ruled toy stores for the past twenty years it could have belonged to Any Kid or possibly someone age forty-five — coincidentally, Koons’s age in 2000.

Recently I read a lovely essay in the New York Times written by Bill Hayes about visiting the Metropolitan Museum with his two nieces, who are fourteen and eighteen. His older niece is an aspiring photographer who was blown away by Garry Winogrand’s photographs. His younger niece was more taken with the paintings, particularly Monet’s Water Lilies. This was the first time she had seen a Monet water lily painting. Bill told both girls that they could fall in love with a work of art, just as they can fall in love with a song. That work of art is theirs.

I cannot say I fell in love with Split-Rocker, but I thought it was fun. When I crossed the plaza to take a head on photograph of it, I noticed that there was a Metropolitan Museum gift shop. The windows were filled with Split-Rocker souvenirs.

Buy Split-Rocker stuff here.

Buy Split-Rocker stuff here.

The plate caught my eye, I could see myself having a slice of baked salmon on it, and so I entered the store looking for it.

Split-Rocker plate, perfect for display or dinner.

Split-Rocker plate, perfect for display or dinner.

I could not find it anywhere. I asked a clerk who was yawning where it was, wondering if it had sold out? She explained to me that if I were interested in it, she would contact the Met on my behalf.

Me: That’s very kind of you. How much is it?

Clerk: $500.

I parroted what she said, and she parroted me. There was a lot of parroting going on, but now I was intrigued.

Me: So how much is the vase?

Split-Rocker, the vase.

Split-Rocker, the vase.

Clerk: $5000.

I said nothing. She looked amused, indicating to me that she must be very used to stupefied expressions.

Me: Is there a Split-Rocker tee shirt?

I figured that in the law of averages wearable Split-Rocker might sell for $50.

Clerk: No. But the little book sells for $15.

Split-Rocker bargain book.

Split-Rocker book (not available on Amazon; I checked).

I refrained from barking:

Me: Finally! A bargain!

I thanked her for her time and left. I’m perfectly content with owning my memory of seeing Split-Rocker and enjoying some of the 50,000 flowers for free.

Actual living flowers in Split-Rocker.

Actual living flowers in Split-Rocker.

For those of you who will not make it to New York in time to see Split-Rocker in person, here’s the Lame Adventure movie.

* For you history buffs, this building was originally known when it opened in 1933 as the RCA Building. In 1988 until 2014, it was the GE Building. Now, Comcast owns it. Saturday Night Live, Jimmy Fallon, Seth Myers, NBC News and MSNBC all tape their broadcasts here.

Advertisements

51 responses to “Lame Adventure 433: A Koons of One’s Own

  1. It’s scary what some people will pay for something is not even the piece of art itself. Although a nice vase is a nice vase. But 5 large? Next.

    Like

  2. Five Grand? Oh. My. Word. I’ll take my free peek via the extraordinaire Ms. LA! Happy Monday, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I kind of like the creature creation. It looks like some critters in the bottom of our bench at the foot of our bed. (No…they aren’t part of our sex toys stash) When grandkids come, they go digging for treasure in that.

    We have a Melamine plate in the cupboard made by our daughter over 35 yrs ago. It has a hand drawn picture on it. I wonder if it is worth $500.

    Thanks for the video. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Maybe that Melamine plate is not worth $5000, Jim. I am sure it is one of a kind, unlike Split-Rocker. Hey, even it is two of a kind. I bet your grandkids might like that creature, or it might make them want more hobby horses and dinosaurs.

      Like

  4. Great excursion!

    Thanks,

    R.

    Like

  5. Love the movie too!!!

    R.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That’s a pretty big garden to tend. I’m not sure I see the correlation between a toy dinosaur or horse and living plants, but it’s original.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Split Rocker is pretty cool, but I think the dino side and the horse side both look pretty dino-horsey.

    $500 for a plate? Jeff Koons better have cast that sucker himself. I watched the movie, as there will probably be flying cars in Manhattan before I get another opportunity to go there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like that Smak: “dino-horsey”. I agree with you about the plate, but Koons is such a big bossman now, it seems more likely that you and I will share the next Powerball jackpot, than for him to do anything hands-on beyond criticizing his minions. But when you win Powerball, then you have no excuse not to visit the Apple!

      Like

  8. I thought it was so funny you saw a piece of baked salmon on that plate. Ha ha. I laughed because I know how healthy you are, V. I’m on a healthy diet too for once, so I could really see it. But $500? And, $5,000? Thanks again for sharing the art of the City. Do you follow Exile on Pain Street? He did a post about Koons, too. I wasn’t sure if you knew each other. It sounds like quite the draw, and I would just marvel at those flowers.

    Like

    • Now that summer is essentially over, Amy, it’s baking season in my hovel. No, I don’t know that blogger you mentioned, but there has been a lot of Jeff Koons attention here in New York these days. He’s a bit had to miss!

      Like

  9. I can’t believe you didn’t order a set of 8 plates on the spot! Of course, without the rest of the set, what would be the point? Thanks for the movie.

    Like

  10. This is one exotic sculpture, and I’m not surprised it was first exhibited at the Palaise des Papes in Avignon. I was visiting there a few years ago, and no, didn’t see the Spilt Rocker, but a huge bronze sculpture of an upside down elephant standing on its trunk. Right, all these whimsical artworks right in the Palace where the Popes used to dwell centuries ago. Truly postmodern.

    Like

  11. and o, btw, have you selected your films to watch at the NYFF yet?

    Like

  12. Thanks for supplying my culture fix for the week. We hillbillies just look at that kind of stuff and wonder what kind of poor confused soul splits his rocker (then blames his child). That would be like me mixing a raccoon with an armadillo and accusing Luther Burbank of GMO.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Holy Split Rocker-Feller, Batman. And, yikes on the vase! $5K WTF?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Yeah sure, I’ll take 3 vases of those.
    I’ve been MIA, but I read your book. (finally)
    I enjoyed it a lot and I have a post planned about it, because I didn’t binge read it, but dosed the stories so they lasted me for a long time. I would read them whenever I had a race.
    Have a nice week!

    Liked by 1 person

    • LEO!!!!!!!!!!!!! Good to hear from you old (but you’re still young!) friend! Yes, three vases: one for you, Doggy and Miss Peach, eh?

      Thanks for reading my worst seller. That’s so sweet that you’ll write about it on your site. I’m following you at your new blog.

      Like

  15. I just don’t get modern art. Old things, we look at them and know what they are. A few hundred years from now, will people of the future look at stuff like that and wonder what the…….

    Like

    • That is a very good point. I can see Picasso coexisting with Rembrandt, but a massive, upscale Chia Pet coexisting with Picasso and Rembrandt in the year 2525? Granted, we’ll be dead, but I think the same could be said for Split-Rocker.

      Like

  16. Nice musical accompaniment in the video, V. I expect that you’ll be doing some high kicks in the next installment.

    I have a practical question about the installation. How do they keep all those flowers alive when they dismantle the thing? Do they have to replant the flowers each time they move it to a new location?

    Like

    • I was wondering about the fate of the flowers, after it’s dismantled Jackie. Maybe they’re given away or destroyed? They start with a new crop the next time it’s installed? There’s a video on the Public Art Fund’s web site showing how it was assembled. Assistants (probably more like wage slaves) are painstakingly planting the flowers in the sculpture’s hole-riddled skin. It has some internal irrigation system that keeps the plants alive. It seems to be almost more about horticulture than art.

      Like

  17. Thanks for taking us along, V. No way, no how I’d pay 5K for a vase. Jonathan Adler makes something similar (split elephant bookends, they’re white) at Barnes and Noble for $50. That may seem gauche but art is subjective. Don’t you agree dah-ling?

    Like

    • All I really wanted was the plate, Brig. I would have popped a Jackson or two for that, but five Benjamins and then fifty Benjamins for the vase. To quote you pal, “No way, no how.” That goes into retirement savings over here!

      Like

  18. Doing a little parroting of my own, I cannot say I fell in love with Split-Rocker; however, I was intrigued to see just what Comcast is doing with my money, since often my TV/phone/Internet service is less than perfectly sculpted, and their “customer care” reps, located “off-shore,” they tell me, sound like they’ve got a mouth full of peanut-butter covered flowers.

    I digress — I do enjoy your coverage of the arts, since I don’t get to NYC to see the works myself. Thanks, V.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I thought this sculpture would bring out the best in my following, Samantha, and you certainly did not disappoint with your comment! I got so fed up with my cable provider, Time Warner, making me pay a king’s ransom for TV and Internet, I pulled the plug on the TV. Frankly, I think the US Military should ditch tanks and prepare to fight the enemy inside Split-Rockers from now on. Glad you enjoyed the post!

      Like

  19. Maybe … just maybe … you will receive an Oscar nomination in the short film category … and of course I can resist. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5gQd3YBHxI

    Like

  20. I am appreciative that we didn’t have to pay admission for the post, pics, or video! And I hope your future baked salmon finds contentment with a Split-Rocker-less plate.

    Like

    • So it appears that you won’t be jetting to the Big Apple to catch Split-Rocker for the last day it’s on display, Sarah? My future baked salmon will learn to appreciate a second prize plate, basic white ceramic.

      Like

  21. Wow, 5,000! And I thought 15 bucks for the shirt was pushing it. I’d settle for my own photos and memories as well. And I love the duality of this one. Very whimsical.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s