Jeff Koons Must Die!!! by Hunter Jonakin

Although I am not quite as much of a Jeff Koons hater as some other folks at Bad at Sports, I did find this particular example of videogame art to be tremendously amusing. It’s kind of along the lines of Paul Steen’s Art Assault, but sadly Hunter Jonakin’s Jeff Koons Must Die!!! isn’t downloadable. That’s probably a good thing, or else I’m pretty sure I’d be playing it all day as opposed to finding pearls like this throw your way. (And to give credit where credit is due, this particular pearl was thrown to me by Richard Holland). The game takes the form of an old-school arcade cabinet complete with joystick controls and “fire” and “jump” buttons. Below, some video footage of the game in action:

Jonakin describes the work on his website thusly:

Jeff Koons is one of the most polarizing and well known contemporary artists living today. He attempts to elevate the banal by constructing large metal sculptures that resemble balloon animals, oil paintings that contain subject matter derived from digital collage, and large-scale pornographic photographs featuring the artist and his former wife, to name a few. All of Koons’s art is constructed by assistants. In general, viewers love or hate Koons and his work, and that is why he was chosen as the subject matter for this piece.

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.

Two things I love about this project: 1) it costs a quarter to play the game, which in regards to Koons somehow seems appropos, and 2) the hordes of lawyers, curators, etc. confronting you on the final Boss level, making the game impossible to win. Good times.