The politics and opinions behind what makes a great work of art can sometimes come off as arbitrary or wrought with an elitism that has more to do with the power of the people in charge, or the whims of the art market, than the caliber of the work itself. Understandably, these things would make anyone angry. So angry, in fact, that we might just want to take our trusty rocket launcher and wreak havoc on all those inscrutable works of art. Now, with the arcade game installation Jeff Koons Must Die!!!, anyone can take their anger out on the art world through the decimation of some of the most recognizable (and disputed) works in the contemporary art world.
Multimedia artist Hunter Jonakin has developed a game that puts users inside a room filled with the artwork of Jeff Koons, equipped with a rocket launcher to blow it all up at will. Koons, as Jonakin notes, is “one of the most polarizing and well-known contemporary artists living today,” which makes him the perfect candidate for a game that lets the player become a force of mass destruction. In the end, the game proves to be un-winnable, as a multiplying army of curators, lawyers, assistants etc. are unleashed upon the player:
The game is set in a large museum during a Jeff Koons retrospective. The viewer is given a rocket launcher and the choice to destroy any of the work displayed in the gallery. If nothing is destroyed, the player is allowed to look around for a couple of minutes and then the game ends. However, if one or more pieces are destroyed, an animated model of Jeff Koons walks out and chastises the viewer for annihilating his art. He then sends guards to kill the player. If the player survives this round, then he or she is afforded the ability to enter a room where waves of curators, lawyers, assistants, and guards spawn until the player is dead. In the end, the game is unwinnable, and acts as a comment on the fine art studio system, museum culture, art and commerce, hierarchical power structures, and the destructive tendencies of gallery goers, to name a few.
It looks to be a fun, healthy way to take out all that misdirected aggression at that the politics of the contemporary art world. Not to mention, it’s downright hilarious.