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Koons Ruins at the James Estate
On view through November 27, 2022
New Museum Los Gatos (NUMU)
Los Gatos, California

In “Koons Ruins at the James Estate,” Bay Area artist Kathy Aoki provides humorous relief from the art market tyranny of artist Jeff Koons with her conceptual and satirical exhibition. Kathy Aoki uses a keen eye and sharp tongue to poke fun at the patriarchy of the fine art world and create an immersive experience for visitors.

Jeff Koons is known for being an exorbitantly paid artist who delivers kitschy, self-serving work that many arts professionals revile. But does his work deserve to be destroyed? According to Aoki’s tongue-in-cheek exhibition entitled “Koons Ruins at the James Estate,” the answer is “Yes!” The exhibition tells the story of fictional art collector Dorothea James whose growing dislike of Koons’ art leads her to take destructive action. James begins to acquire some of his most famous pieces, sticks them in the ground on her secluded estate, and subjects them to accelerated degradation with the help of hired chemists. When James passes away, her estate is open to the public and becomes known to the world as “Koons Ruins.” Set up as a faux history museum exhibit, “Koons Ruins” treats visitors to this satirical story of the James estate, complete with depictions of “Balloon Dog” and other works by Koons half-buried in the dirt. Visitors can even “visit” the James Estate through a peephole diorama featuring Koons’ “Lobster” sculpture stuck in an acid pit. Both seasoned art appreciators and those new to the art world will enjoy the meticulously crafted pieces and humorous labels that make up this conceptual treat.

[Image: Kathy Aoki, Buried Bourgeois Bust, 2022, digital painting, 24 x 40 in.]