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New York makes a (shaky) bid for L.A.’s pop culture crown

December 17, 2009

For decades, the stereotype has been that Los Angeles is the center of the pop culture universe. Now, New York appears to be making a claim on the title.

Not New York, the city; New York, the magazine.

Here’s esteemed art critic Jerry Saltz in the current issue, which surveys the cultural zeitgeist from 2000-2009, writing about Jeff Koons and his monumental, 40-foot floral sculpture of a West Highland white terrier, clad in 50,000 petunias, begonias, marigolds and chrysanthemums:

After his 1991 “Made in Heaven” exhibition, in which we saw graphic depictions of Koons and his ex-wife, the porn star La Cicciolina, having sex, Koons was shunned within the art world. He wasn’t invited to biennials; he had only one more New York solo gallery show in the nineties. To get a sense of how that felt to Koons, consider that he once mused about being “burned at the stake.”

So he spent most of the nineties working to return to New York with something utterly perfect, powerful, and beyond criticism. “Puppy” accomplished that. Not only was it an instant icon; it is the first piece of art exhibited in the 21st century that was clearly jockeying for pop-culture supremacy.

“Puppy” was “the first piece of art exhibited in the 21st century that was clearly jockeying for pop-culture supremacy”? Was it preparing for that in 1992 when it was first shown in Bad Arolsen, Germany, a stone’s Jeff Koons Puppythrow from Kassel and the mega-show Documenta IX, whose art-world thunder the wonderful doggie stole?

Or in 1995, when it went up Down Under, just across the inlet from the iconic Opera House in Sydney, Australia (pictured)?

Read more at: New York makes a (shaky) bid for L.A.’s pop culture crown

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