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Jeff Koons
Pancakes
2001
Gagosian Gallery
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NOT JUST HOT AIR
by Jerry Saltz



When money and hype recede from the art world, one thing I won’t miss will be what curator Francesco Bonami calls the "Eventocracy." All this flashy "art-fair art" and those highly produced space-eating spectacles and installations wow you for a minute until you move on to the next adrenaline event. Giant heads made of pots and pans; tigers flying through museums; muscle cars buffed by bikini-clad girls; bronze Hello Kitty sculptures in courtyards; enough plywood, plastic, aluminum and steel constructions to wall off Mexico from the U.S. -- big isn’t necessarily bad, but it isn’t automatically beautiful, either. Some of these projects have been great. Olafur Eliasson’s fluorescent sun-disk, displayed in the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall in 2003 and 2004, actually got English audiences to momentarily stop reveling in realism in lieu of abstraction. Ditto Doris Salcedo’s work. But most of these "events" are only empty-headed ways of spending money, seducing rubes, saying nothing and elbowing aside anything smaller, quieter, or riskier. It’s like an Elton John concert. Future generations will see that we passed through a super-mannered period where razzmatazz became an end in itself.

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