Jeff Koons And The Ten Million Pound Easter Egg
Religious or not, we are all familiar with the spirit of giving, new life and general goodwill associated with decorating and eating eggs at Easter. The practice in any case dates back to ancient times, Christianity only taking it up with later examples found from Mesopotamia; even later it was further established as a religious trope with the legend that a basket of eggs carried by Mary Magdalene to Christ’s tomb miraculously turned bright red (other variations of course exist). The traditions from whatever origin or creed (I’m beginning to sound a little new-age here) nonetheless embody a bright, joyous outlook, never far from good humour; even in gaming and movies an ‘Easter Egg’ is a hidden in-joke treat for those that find them, and the large eggs adorning the Dalí museum outside Barcelona are thought to have been chosen due to the smirking similarity the Spanish for ‘egg’ bears to the Spanish slang for ‘balls’.
Which is why, regardless of the charitable nature of the projects like last year's Fabergé Easter Egg Hunt in Manhattan, it feels rather soulless. This megabrand commissioned several famous uber-artists to design their own Easter Eggs which were dotted around the city for the public to hunt out, before being auctioned off for charity, with the result that the only winners were those artists which appeared to have the greatest bids. Given the comparative nature of the commission, with all artists giving the usual egg shape their own branding (Koons blow-up animals; Emin squiggly nonsensical ravings), it becomes a matter of which name is biggest and thus ‘wins’ the accolade of most expensive. Koons makes the usual nods to conceptual justification for his work by hinting at the universal nature of the egg shape and the fecundity it implies: “'The work displays enjoyment of both profound internalizing along with the experience of external vastness … we have the yin and yang, the masculine and feminine qualities of the animated seal and walrus, along with the sense of the family unit,' but in reality all that matters about this work is the fact we obsess over how some munchkin bid $360k for it, $19k for Emin. Julian Schnabel looks like the loser with a comparatively measly $7k bid.
The overall winner though, has to be Fabergé itself: encouraging citizens to traipse around Manhattan searching for the eggs, then posting them online using an App showing they’d been there, all sufficed to contribute to the unattainable glory that is their powerhouse megabrand. Punters who ‘collected’ (ha!) all eggs were automatically entered into a draw in which the prize was a Fabergé pendant itself: the mighty bestows upon the mortals who serve them well, a tiny token of magic.
Fabergé aside, we know the real money spinner here is Jeff Koons. Now there’s a man who can print Fabergé bracket figures even without an alchemist's 3D printer. Instead he has little elves (wrong season) to create his multicoloured Easter egg creations, which look like they rolled out of a Godiva Chocolate shoppe, at the Green Giant’s local Westfield Shopping Centre. At £10 million a pop, they could put you into a diabetic coma.
Photo: Courtesy Christie's all rights reserved