Jeff Koons’ Split-Rocker was recently installed at Rockefeller Plaza, in conjunction with his retrospective opening this Friday at the Whitney Museum. Equipped with its own irrigation system, the 150-ton, 37-foot-high stainless steel, soil and geotextile fabric sculpture features over 50,000 plants. We were told to come back by the second week of July when its marigolds, petunias, geraniums, begonias and impatiens are “really in bloom.” See it in its current stage in the gallery above.
The half-dinosaur, half-pony rocker-head was first exhibited in at the Palais des Papes and later at Château de Versailles. According to the Rockefeller Center, it’s “persistent fascination with dichotomy and the in-between,” and it’s vaguely “Cubist.” Earlier this year, Larry Gagosian gave it a bare assessment as “very Duchampian” and “really a ready-made.” Unlike Koons’ more famous topiary Puppy, it’s also visibly hollow.
It goes to reason that the “Cubist” “ready-made” is really meant to be enjoyed visually and viscerally as a gigantic totem “fantasy shelter,” which makes its tourist-hot-bed location appropriate for appreciating the oversized topiary.
“I love it. I think it’s amazing. I think this is a very smart spot for it to be,” Sarah, 21, agreed. “It looks half-done,” Scott, 27, pondered. “Is it art? I guess. It’s big. I really don’t know anything about art.” While most responded with “Flowers! Planted on it! Cool,” a distinguished gentlemen named Gunter from Philadelphia, who did not want to reveal his age, told ANIMAL, “I am not impressed. I got three times as much at home.”
There are two editions of the work. One is at a private museum in Potomac, Maryland. This one is still owned by Jeff Koons and is view at Rockefeller Plaza through September 12th. More than 150 objects by Jeff Koons go on view at the Whitney later this week — a full scope of big beautiful things in various degree of hollowness.
(Photos: Aymann Ismail/ANIMALNewYork)