A Miami based contemporary art newsletter / blog

Hump Day Cool Finger: New line of Jeff Koons art watches by Ikepod sparks discussion on the subject of market necessity


Jeff Koons presents his exhibition ‘Popeye Series’ at the Serpentine Gallery on June 30, 2009 in London, England. The exhibition, Koons’ first in a UK public gallery, closed this week. Image via Getty Images.

Today the Hump Day Cool Finger, by way of Newsweek magazine, looks again at the phenomenon of art-luxury commercial tie-ins. This blending of art and luxury has has existed in some form for decades, but today is becoming worryingly copious and cringemakingly lucrative. Despite the failing economy, which many (ourselves included) hoped would put an end to superfluous purchasing and the production of worthless (in a practical sense) merchandise, the proliferation of faddy kids toys, excessive household aids and sex toys for dogs is only getting worse.

Nick Foulkes of Newsweek in July of this year commented that it is not often that the world of haute horlogerie vouchsafes a moment of artistic epiphany, but after Vacheron’s line of $367,000 watches inspired by African and Oceanic masks were exhibited at the MET this year and reports are circulating that Jeff Koons is working on a new line of watches from Ikepod it seems that the hour of wrist-mounted masterpieces (pah!) is finally upon us.

On the subject of Hump Day Cool Finger’s running theme of the melding of art and luxury, and how much of these partnerships can be boiled down to market necessity (as many luxury and art buyers may continue scaling back amid the ongoing slow economy), Foulkes illustrates how the separate spheres inhabited by the arts and luxury brands are, rather than being entirely separate, have a symbiotic, Venn diagrammatic relationship:

“The exhibition [at the MET] culminates a three-year collaboration between Vacheron and the Barbier-Mueller Museum, which has resulted in a series of watches known simply as the Masks. Bold and eerie— not to mention, at $370,000 for a set of four, a serious investment—these watches combine the craftsmanship husbanded by Vacheron with the jewels of a unique art collection. Similarly, Ikepod is coming out with a watch designed by artist Jeff Koons. Although they differ in style and price (the Koons watch will sell for $15,675 in titanium), these two offerings are symptomatic of a growing interest in “art products.” According to Louis Vuitton, the term was coined by the artist Takashi Murakami, whose work has appeared on the luggage maker’s monogrammed canvas. There was a time when artists inhabited an altogether loftier plane than the purveyors of luxury goods. There were occasional crossovers, such as Yves Saint Laurent’s Mondrian-inspired dress and Château Mouton Rothschild’s artist-designed wine labels. But rarely did the twain meet.” [read more]

Finally, in scratching around for images for this post we stumbled upon another line of Koons watches, which despite somewhat lacking in authenticity ($40 each) are nonetheless out there and unashamedly for sale. Some might criticize us for further disseminating a suspect product, but is it really our business or priority whether an artist who claims to be the American artstar via bright shiny consumerist times benefits from a product? We’ll let the cumulative venom of these midweek rants answer that one in its own time.

This post was contributed by Thomas Hollingworth.


  • Richard Haden

    Confusing Jeff Koons with contemporary art is like confusing Michael Jackson with being an artist in the world of music. The former is an art entertainer and the latter a music entertainer. One such insightful proof to this assertion is to look at the piece Koons made of Michael Jackson and the chimp. I see this particular piece as Koons’s tribute to the success of pop music as a metaphor for the success and recuperation of pop art.

    I recall in “Thriller,” MJ’s high pitched voice trying to convince us that he is “Bad.” I get the same feeling with Koons– he wants us to think of him as not too bad.

  • Mister Arrow

    Very few people can pull off making art of themselves fucking their Italian porn star wife! He gets points for that, yet he is a wanker for not signing a $1 ceramic puppy I offered him after a speaking engagement in Miami.

    The gigantic mirrored steel twisted balloons sculptures are bad ass too.
    Too bad the artist is a wanker yet the work is not half bad.

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Hump Day Cool Finger: New line of Jeff Koons art watches by Ikepod sparks discussion on the subject of market necessity