Jeff Koons’ Louis Vuitton suitcases: a joyous skill biography reading

In endorse the likes of Fragonard, Rubens and Titian, Jeff Koons line of Louis Vuitton accessories returns high art to the high street and proves off his sincere fervour for painting

High art needs all the friends it can get. Museum attendance is putting all parts of the world, and earnest attempts to courtroom young persons and identify with the brand-new are clearly not working. Something more forceful is necessary: definitive exuberance for great artwork in different languages people in the 21 st century understand.

How about a Louis Vuitton crate with RUBENS written on it in large-scale gold words over a reproduction of that 17 th-century painters violent, exuberant and spectacular project Tiger, Lion and the Leopard Hunt?

I cant think of a simpler way to introduce enormous prowes at the forefront of modern knowledge. This is not a cynic exert. The hunt painting is not a pop icon hitherto but a serious decorate beloved by prowes connoisseurs. Jeff Koons, for instance.

Rubens is only one of the largest painters Koons has chosen to celebrate in a line of luggage for Vuitton. Koons, a notorious appropriation creator, is notorious for passing kitsch portraits and objects into artistry, but for his assortment of handbags, rucksacks and other expensive accessories he is turning enormous prowes back into favourite culture. Just as Andy Warhol generated Warholised versions of Renaissance artistry, Koons has passed the old masters into pattern must-haves( if you can afford them rates wander up to $4,000 ).

Frills, foliage and flesh Jean-Honor Fragonards work adorns a Vuitton bag designed by Jeff Koons. Picture: Louis Vuitton

For from chafing Rubens in the dirt and reducing the exalted to the worthless, these luxury objects look to me like sincere homages to great skill. Koons clearly has an erudite and enthusiastic affection of oil painting, for while his baggages touting the Mona Lisa and Van Goghs Wheat Field With Cypresses may be easy on our intelligences, he is also bravely developing us by holding on the glamour of Rubens, Titian and Fragonard.

Frago-who? This 18 th-century French painter of frills, foliage and flesh was the last practitioner of the precious and playful rococo form that celebrated amusement and came to be seen by revolutionary moralists as a decadent courtly aesthetic of escapism and indulgence. Many of his purchasers expired for the purposes of the guillotine in the French change. He was unfashionable then and is unfashionable now, but Koons has put his sensual painterly genius into the heart of the mode world with a container decorated with his 1770 decorating Girl With a Dog, again emblazoned with the call FRAGONARD in gold.

Jeff Koonss Dirty Jeff on Top( 1991) with Seen in Heaven( 1989) behind it. Photograph: Christian Sinibaldi for the Guardian

This may not be such a surprising selection for Koons after all. Fragonards provocative painting of a partly nude young lady playing with a fluffy puppy in bed has at least two similarities with his own creations. His giant floral effigies of puppies are among his most brilliant subversions of what modern artistry is supposed to look like, and the covers voyeurism shares his appetite for blurring the line between arts and pornography.

Notice this, and you check Jeff Koons in a different way. This is an artist who looks at and thinks about art from the past, and observes his most bright minds there. The 18 th-century rococo and the strange genius of Fragonard is not something he discovered yesterday. He has been depicting on the rococo for his sculptures for a very long time. Similarly, his ostentatious super-pop decorates are nothing less than attempts to revive the intensity of Rubens. A subtle passion for artistry is concealed by his apparent idea in banality.

Now Koons is sharing the artistry he most affections. The capability of Rubens, the sensuality of Titian and the naughty painterly tarts of Fragonard clearly mesmerize him, and he misses other people to see what he construes. This is not simply a line of indulgence bags. It is an artists meditation on the masters, in handbag word. Picasso replica and reworked great covers in his later years. Koons is offering a different kind of art exercise, and it is a joy. I want to see the reputations FRAGONARD and RUBENS brightening on Oxford Street, on Fifth Avenue, their masterpieces walking out of the museum into modern lives.

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