Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Jeff Koons Unnecessarily Shoots Rabbits for "They Gay?" 'NYT' Mag Cover

nytmagFor this coming Sunday's New York Times magazine, Jeff Koons has apparently provided photographs of two bunnies. Just two days ago, the Times reported on the decline in work and income for professional photographers. After claiming that amateurs and their low pricing were hurting professional photographers, a claim that is total baloney-newspapers and magazines changed their rates and the amount of work they commissioned, is actually what happened!-the Times started to make sense: "Professionals are also being hurt because magazines and newspapers are cutting pages or shutting altogether…. And while magazines once sniffed at stock photographs, which are existing images, not original assignments, shrinking editorial budgets made them reconsider." And here are some of the stock photos that could have been used by the Times mag instead of randomly hiring one of the world's most expensive photographers!

Super Stock charges a whopping $1700 for cover use on a magazine with a million-plus distribution. We imagine that's a whole lot less than Koons charges. But particularly when your institution is looking at the lack of work for working photographers (of which Koons is not one!), it seems in poor taste to steal a job out of the mouth of someone who actually does this for a living.



And…. there. For the worst Photoshop mockups in the history of ever, I would like $5 please.

Later I suppose we'll start asking why, um, there is a cover story in the Times mag where the coverline is "THEY GAY?" Because, WHAT? (Are they trying to make GayLOLRabbits happen? Because, no.) Also the story isn't even about rabbits! "Contributing writer Jon Mooallem explores homosexual activity amongst albatrosses at Kaena Point, Hawaii." And! "But studying these activities may have implications beyond animals; for many, it's a reflection of what humans perceive as 'natural,' a validation or a denunciation of our own behavior." Hoo boy!

40 Comments / Post A Comment

Flashman (#418)

I do think Koons' image invites a rather more ambiguous response in the viewer than the photos you selected.
If you want to go down that particular rabbit hole.

irishbreakfast (#4,123)

I agree, but I also think that sussing out the complexities of the whole image depends upon knowing a great deal about Koons' work. And it also depends on whether you believe that anything he's ever done was innovative, relevant or will be remembered in 50 years. And then using that knowledge to ponder whether those glassy eyes are Photoshop or indeed, glass eyes. If that's all the ambiguity I'm getting, I'll go with someone who makes a living shooting bunnies.

Tablefornone (#3,264)

The answer is no, no and, sadly, yes. I'm kind of hoping he dies by falling into a giant vat of distilled water he's suspending basketballs in, or is crushed by a metal sculpture of a balloon animal.

Damien Hirst, in the conservatory, with the formaldehyde shark.

Flashman (#418)

I was thinking maybe, no and definitely yes.

Flashman (#418)

More disturbing is the amount of pain that #2 R is clearly experiencing.

irishbreakfast (#4,123)

I really do think he will be a footnote, probably one that follows an entry on Warhol, in the art history survey texts of 2060. His best work has been when he deals with public spaces. The rest is the artistic equivalent of Wilkie Collins. And I'm generally not an optimistic person.

Really? I consider him the only visual artist of note since Warhol.

joeclark (#651)

B. Nauman? B. Kruger? J. Holzer? D. amienhirst?

lululemming (#409)

I wish the tagline was "Do she?"

What, FUCKING SKITTLES wasn't hilarious enough for you?

HonoriaGlossop (#1,247)

I'm just glad Cicciolina's not involved.

HiredGoons (#603)

They shoot rabbits, don't they.

garge (#736)

Phew, I thought you meant he shot them dead, like yesterday's kittens, instead of waiting patiently for the decisive They Gay rabbit moment.

Matt (#26)

The plight of Peter Parker has never been more relevant.

amockingbird (#2,015)

When I first introduced my (neutered) bunny Noel to his new companion Sarah Jane (not yet neutered), he was very polite and courteous. So she humped his head. Repeatedly. She kept up this kind of behavior for days until he finally had enough and mounted her all over the living room carpet. He'd exerted his dominance and she never humped him again. Our lesson from the animal kingdom: If your bitch is getting uppity, fuck it out of her.

Pop Socket (#187)

Have you seen the modeling fees albatrosses charge? No wonder they went with rabbits.

In truth, what the Times did is what's going wrong for professional photographers. Because there is less work, prestige photographers (or even fine art photographers) who would have normally turned their noses up at certain kinds of magazines or magazine work are now taking that work.

For example, a high end portrait photographer who would normally not do a fashion spread or a still-life food shoot will take pretty much whatever comes their way. This leaves people on the lower end, or various specialists out in the cold.

Not that I think Jeff Koons needs the money. But they could have hired someone a lot more hungry. At a far better rate.

Flashman (#418)

The risk there being that they would eat the rabbits and then PETA gets in a huff.

lululemming (#409)

Is "gay" meant to read as a verb in this construct? As in, "Here, I gayed that for you?" or "These to rabbits have been known to gay"?

Lastly, is it too early in the day for a Cadbury Creme Egg? and is or is not The Awl in a secret viral marketing campaign to gay readers into eating Cadbury Creme Eggs for breakfast?

ProfessorBen (#1,254)

I cannot handle this headline. Did no one in the NYT 'gay mafia' get to gaze at a mockup? Is it some kind of triple-reverse Palin-style word/mind play? Is it prurient? is it continuing the anti church theme?

In a nod to you, lulu, I think picturing lemmings instead would have been even more wow.

saythatscool (#101)

Tell me about the rabbits, Choire.

Adam S. (#3,580)

Why pick on the Jeff Koons rabbits when there is a whole slideshow of heteroflexible Jeff Koons animals?

gregorg (#30)

where can I send my $5?

wb (#2,214)

Koons has made a career out of selling what can otherwise be had for relatively cheap for astronomical prices, so this is just par for the course, really.

If they wanted to do famous artists and rabbits (and still fucked over a working, living photographer) though, why not buy the rights to reprint an image from Joseph Beuy's "How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare" ? I do a Photoshop mock-up but, alas, have no Photoshop.

City_Dater (#2,500)

Did they choose the rabbit photo as an Easter Sunday statement? Or maybe it's just that ambisexual rabbits are cuter than ambisexual albatross.

LondonLee (#922)

The Times also got Andres Serrano to shoot a cover story on torture which was just a picture of a bloke with a black bag on his head that anyone could have shot.

But magazine editors like using "name" artists because of the reflected prestige. My editor is always pushing me to use famous photographers that he sees in Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, then I have to point out that said photographer probably charges 10x our day rate and besides lives in Germany so flying him (plus entourage) to shoot a portrait in LA will blow our art budget for the entire issue.

The picture leaves me hoping that the cover is a fold-out, with the picture on the inside fold depicting the bottom bunny now on top and a caption that says "WELL, ARE THEY?"

I like that you used bunnies of color instead of white ones.

If only more magazines would do that!

rula (#3,558)

Cicciolina was the one with talent.

katiebakes (#32)


Rare it is that I take the optimist's view…but maybe the assistant who really took the pic is a photographer!

laziestgal (#4,237)

My friend sent me this post because I was complaining about the Koons photos. I also object to the unnecessary description of his photos as "conceptual"– when a regular NYT photographer contributes staged/posed photos to accompany an article, they are given no such intellectualized label.

And really, it would have been much better to have photos of the actual animals discussed. It's just dumb to have "studio portraits" instead of real nature photography. But the NYT magazine is all about having art photographers shoot their stories these days.

Flashman (#418)

I think the intention of the studio setting is to imply that these are urban, i.e. 'metrosexual', rabbits.

Sean Laughlin (#4,240)

Gay rabbits? On Easter Sunday? this is going to get good….

Tho, I can see how you guys missed that…

GoGoGojira (#2,871)

The Vatican is already having as bad a week as Jesse James

GoGoGojira (#2,871)

Well, they're hanging out by a bunch of flowers and touching each other so probably they gay.

hugesunglasses (#2,696)

That would explain why my Times cost sixteen million dollars yesterday.

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