"What if you were locked in an art museum overnight, with a rocket launcher, during a Jeff Koons retrospective?" That's how artist Hunter Jonakin sets the scene for his 1980s throwback video game, Jeff Koons Must Die!!!
If you were one of the many incredulous spectators seething when Koons' shiny "Balloon Dog" sold for a cool $58 million in November 2013, step right up to Jonakin's retro arcade cabinet and watch the immaculate canine explode into hundreds of reflective pieces.
Such expensive little pieces.
That's right, Jonakin's controversial video game, made in 2011, gives you the opportunity to bazooka all of Koons' greatest hits, from his floating basketball equilibrium tank to his good ole NSFW "Made in Heaven" series.
Therapeutic as it may be, the game cannot be won. The more artworks you succeed in destroying the more museum guards, curators and lawyers that descend on the scene to protect the remaining works. We only wish the artist's eight children would make an appearance, preferrably via Koonsmobile.
"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," the artist explains on his website.
Despite turning one of the most buzzed about contemporary artist collections in the world into a virtual target, Jonakin himself has no hard feelings about The Koons.
"I chose Koons as the subject of that piece because he is incredibly polarizing and is at the top of the art world food chain," Jonakin explained to The Observer. "I think when people play the game they see that it is much more than just destruction. The viewers find that there is retribution for their actions and, ultimately, they never win. It’s an over-simplification of a complex system, but one that still works on several levels."
Jeff Koons Must Die!!! is on view until Aug. 30 during the exhibition "Fire and Forget. On Violence" at Berlin's KW Institute of Contemporary Art. See a preview below.