Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Is This a Monkey or a Dog? Actually, Neither

As I've previously stated, I like to take the kids out to see outdoor public art — in part because I'd never want to inflict my children on a museum-going crowd.

Over the weekend, I took them to see "Split-Rocker," the topiary work by Jeff Koons on display in Rockfeller Center.


The work triggered a lengthy debate over whether the animal was a monkey or a dog. Turns out, it's neither.

According to the Public Art Fund, "the inspiration for Split-Rocker came when [Koons] decided to split and combine two similar but different toy rockers, a pony belonging to his son and a dinosaur ('Dino'). The slippage or 'split' between the different halves of the heads gives an almost Cubist aspect to the composition."


The 37-foot-high "Split-Rocker" features over 50,000 flowering plants. That makes it a nice contrast with the more static sculptures around Rockefeller Center, including the famous golden Prometheus bringing fire to mankind.

"Split-Rocker" has previously been featured in places like Avignon and Versailles. I wonder if Midtown Manhattan is a bit of a crowded location for a thought-provoking work.

But Koons has said that the topiary sculpture is about "giving up the control.":
It’s in nature’s hands, even though you try to plan everything to make the plants survive. This sense of giving up control is very beautiful. The balance between control and giving up control reminds us of the polarity of existence.
In that sense, it's not so different than the sculpture giving fire to mankind.

Maybe Rockefeller Center is the perfect spot for this artwork.