New Museum Coming Under Fire for Organizing Exhibition of Trustee’s Collection

11/12/2009 2:33 PM |

Jeff Koons flexing

As I wrote back in September, Jeff Koons (pictured) will be curating an exhibition of works from the collection of Greek billionaire Dakis Joannou at the New Museum in February.

This story seemed a little self-serving from the get-go when you consider that Joannou is one of Koons’ foremost patrons (he owns more than 40 of his works), and the show will therefore presumably include a healthy helping of the Pop artist’s shiny things. As if that weren’t conflict-of-interest-y enough, Joannou is also a trustee of the museum.

Now the Times is going in detail into the weird web of art world cliquishness behind the upcoming Joannou show, which is a little confusing, but also makes it pretty clear that there’s basically the art world equivalent of insider trading going on here—the artist William Powhida even made a huge, helpful chart of the New Museum posse and their various collaborations.

As professor and art controversy expert (he wrote a book on the subject) Steven C. Dubin told ArtsBeat:

Where’s the surprise? It sounds very cozy, and maybe it’s more exaggerated than elsewhere. The art world is very incestuous. There’s glamour. There’s money. It’s sexy.

Admittedly, Joannou is one of the most important collectors of contemporary art in the world, but maybe he should be trying to show his treasure trove at a museum other than the one with which he has money invested.