Wednesday, July 23, 2014


It was the fall of 2008, and I was a young, questioning graduate student.  I eagerly queued outside the Museum of Modern Art on a Tuesday evening for a chance to hear Jeff Koons speak, with the hopes of asking him a two-part question I'd been dying to hear his answer to:
"Do you ever feel guilty for taking the credit, fame, and fortune for your work that is created by your studio assistants?  Could you comment on the removal of the artist's hand from the creation of work and what that means for young artists today?"
I anxiously listen to Koons speak about his work and its relation to contemporary art, and when Q & A time came round, I raised my hand, prominently waved, and loudly asked the question I'd come to hear the answer to when he called on me.  Instead of providing a response, he mumbled something about the artist's right, and moved on to the next question.  Disappointed by his response (or lack thereof), I wrote a paper about the experience and my thoughts on artists like Koons and Damien Hirst who profit from the work of their assistants.

Koons' retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art features work from every stage of the artists' career and oeuvre, and I couldn't help but think about the studio assistants behind the larger-than-life artwork.  Did you see the exhibition?  What did you think?

Dress: H&M
Inflatable flowers: Amazon
Shoes: Keds
Handbag: Jeff Koons for H&M

Photos by Hannah Kauffman; assistance by Maureen Nacy.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Georges Seurat, The Lighthouse at Honfleur, 1886
Stephen Scott Young, Dawn's Light, Coast of New England, 2008
Paul Resika, Blue Wave, 2008
Andrea Kowch, Light Keepers

I just returned from a much-needed, albeit brief vacation in the mid coast of Maine.  On my last day, I was able to explore the Historic Lighthouse at Pemaquid Point, located in a picturesque setting on the rocks since 1827.

While we were clambering around on cliffs, I began considering the various depictions of the lighthouse in painting.  In a quick search on, I compiled these few widely varied examples, ranging from a close-hued Pointillist painting from the 19th century by Georges Seurat, to contemporary painting, both Realist and abstract, to a fantasy-like, almost Surreal, contemporary work by Andrea Kowch (previously featured here).

Which style do you prefer?

Dress: Vintage (thrifted for $5!)
Shoes: Sperry
Hat: H&M

Images via; Photographs by Hope Huynh.