PRINT September 2014

Cory Arcangel

Jeff Koons, Lobster, 2003, polychromed aluminum, steel chain, 57 7/8 × 37 × 17 1/8". From the series “Popeye,” 2002–.

THE BEST LINE—by far—in Aaron Sorkin’s The Social Network is when Sean Parker (played by Justin Timberlake) chides Mark Zuckerberg (played by Jesse Eisenberg) for thinking the financial glass ceiling of a start-up is a million dollars. “A million dollars isn’t cool. You know what’s cool?” asks Timberlake. “A billion dollars, now that’s cool!”

A billion! I agree, a billion dollars is cool. As we all know from IRL, Zuckerberg did get his billion. And for what? By improving on existing social networks—a tiny bit. But that little bit went a long way—it got the aunts, uncles, moms, and dads of the world on a computer. And consider how few people saw the possibility of something like a Facebook in the first place. If you had tried to get me excited about a social-network start-up in 2005, I would have said you were crazy. What was wrong with MySpace and Friendster? SMH. I like to think of Jeff Koons’s work as leveraging a similar dynamic. What was wrong with the Brillo boxes and shovels? Nothing. While not improving, exactly—one can’t improve on masterworks—the ish of Koons’s Icarus-style journey is that he has found space, invisible to most others, to work among these forms, tightening the screws. Why not digitize the practice of sculpture? Why not make public art that is blindingly fun? Why not OCD the nonreversible readymade? In fact, why not OCD the entire process of being an artist from top to bottom? Koons’s work points to the—now seemingly infinite—space hiding in plain sight among certain art-historical dead ends. And, LOL, turns out, like Zuckerberg’s, Koons’s “future obvious” is also worth about a billion dollars. Now that is cool!

Cory Arcangel is an artist based in Brooklyn, NY.