Paul Feeley Knows Jack, Does Jeff Koons Know Feeley?

I’ve been a fan of Paul Feeley since I first encountered his work during my Clement Greenberg Collection catalogue research for the Portland Art Museum. A renowned teacher at Bennington College (during its heady days of high Modernism), Feeley has long languished in the shadows of obscurity and he isn’t poised for a revival any time soon.

Known for his abstract hourglass or jack forms, he was, along with Kenneth Noland, Anthony Caro and Jules Olitski, part of the Vermont-based “Green Mountain Boys.”

Feeley has a knack for op-art-y arrangements of vibrant colors. Not the best of the Greenberg-inspired crew, he still pulls off some impressive work that can (unfortunately for his reputation) often feel more repetitive than innovative.

I encountered the sculpture pictured below [“Jack” (1985)] at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) last week and it is obviously manufactured by his estate posthumously–he died in 1966 at the height of his creative powers.

The art work made me think of the more recent work by Jeff Koons and its emphasis on surface, oversized pop culture ephemera and the leveling of the high and low cultural playing field. I wonder if there’s a connection…hmmmm

Check our Feeley’s sculpture:
Paul Feeley's "Jack" (1985)

Now take a look at Koons’ “Balloon Dog (Yellow)” (1994-2000, is this right?) on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum {via James Andrus’ Flickrstream}:

Leave a Reply