Kirk Varnedoe

  • 1986: Jeff Koons’s Rabbit

    WHEN I FIRST SAW RABBIT, in the “neo-geo” group show at Sonnabend in 1986, I was dumbstruck. It seemed to me instantly, by involuntary reflex—and still does by long reflection—that this bunny is one of those very rare hits at the exact center of the target. It’s a piece where a ton of contradictions (about the artist, about the time) are fused with shocking, deadpan economy into an unforgettable ingot. I can unpack this sculpture endlessly without ever dulling the bewilderments—hilarious and outrageous but chilling and cynical, familiar but also from Mars—that caused that first frisson.


  • Letters: On “Doctor Lawyer Indian Chief: ʻ“Primitivism” in 20th Century Art’ at the Museum of Modern Art in 1984”

    To the Editor:

    After years of work on an exhibition, a curator derives a certain satisfaction from a review that attempts to engage the basic issues of his show in a fair-minded way and on a high level of discourse. This is true even when the review is largely negative, as in the case of Thomas McEvilley’s article on The Museum of Modern Art’s “Primitivism” [“Doctor Lawyer Indian Chief,” November 1984]. Most analyses of exhibitions and their books fall away and are soon forgotten. McEvilley’s could be one that becomes part of the history of the event it addresses. I hope, therefore, that he will