The Easel

28th February 2023

Jeff Koons Goes to the Moon

I don’t think I am being entirely mischievous by including this piece. Admittedly, there is humour to be had from just reading what Koons says about himself. One critic called him “the truest believer in a cult of his own invention”. But, like it or not, Koons is more – “perhaps the only person alive with enough money, know-how, and conviction to produce an eight-foot sculpture out of pink Portuguese marble [12 years in the making] that might stand one day beside its 400-year-old [Renaissance] cousins.”

Enter the mesmerising, AI-driven world of artist Refik Anadol

Perhaps wanting to refresh its cutting-edge credentials, New York’s MoMA commissioned Anadol, a data artist(?) to create an AI artwork using images from its own collection.  This review of the resulting work has lots of “gee whizz” techno-speak but conspicuously little about its aesthetics. ChatGPT, when tasked by a magazine to review the piece, came back with eerily similar techno-speak. Yawns one critic, it’s “only a screensaver”. A video of Anadol’s installation is here.

21st February 2023

Olivia Laing, Hilton Als and More on the “Unapologetic” Art of Alice Neel

Neel’s self-portrait at age 80 is acclaimed because it “tells it as it is”. That about sums up her career in portraiture. Taking people from her neighborhood or her artistic network, she revealed “what the world had done to them and their retaliation”. Of her portrait of Warhol – “Alice saw straight through [the mask he made for himself]. You can feel how much he longs to be beautiful. She’s done him out in the most flattering, girlish pastel shades but she’s also stripped him bare.”