stainless steel, soil, geotextile fabric, internal irrigation system, and live flowering plants
A towering sculpture composed of tens of thousands of flowering plants, Jeff Koons’s Split-Rocker depicts two halves of toy rockers—one dinosaur (“dino”) and one pony—which fuse together as a single form. These profiles are an imperfect match, their incongruity highlighted by a distinctive steel “split” that joins the contrasting yet complementary sides: dino is rendered in magenta, orange, and yellow, while pony blooms in purple, fuchsia, and white. This asymmetry extends to the lopsided positioning of the characters’ eyes, dino’s gazing forward while pony peers to the side. Yet, despite the visual opposition distinguishing these halves from one another, their profiles align by way of a pair of matching yellow “handles” that protrude from the sides of the sculpture and unify its form. It is this tension between representation and abstraction, between cohesive and divided, that complicates the colossal bust but also enables the coexistence of an array of historical references and touch points. These include the thousands of flowers that appear as individual, chaotic components from up close, but, from a distance, blend to produce recognizable features, an effect reminiscent of the canvases of noted Pointillist George Seurat and the mismatched gazes originating from the same face that are akin to the fractured countenances rendered by Pablo Picasso during his Cubist years. At the same time, Split-Rocker incorporates the whimsical Pop subject matter that is Jeff Koons’s signature while alluding to the artist’s diverse areas of interest including Baroque topiary gardening and the conflation of high and low culture.
A team of experts, including engineers, landscape architects, irrigation specialists, soil experts, curators, the artist and his assistants, and members of Glenstone’s gardening staff worked together to bring the work to life. The living culture of Split-Rocker is continuously refined to fulfill Glenstone’s commitment to a fully organic landscape, and no chemicals are used to grow or maintain the sculpture. Embodying Glenstone’s mission to integrate art, architecture, and landscape, Split-Rocker offers an extraordinary example of the transformative power of art within the context of a seamless, sustainable environment.