The quote is from Vivek Ranadivé, the majority owner of the Sacramento Kings, who have a enormous new arena with a newly unveiled Jeff Koons sculpture. The sculpture is 18 feet tall and looks not like a king, but sort of like a teddy bear. It's brightly and messily (but very expensively) colored and is called "Coloring Book." The Kings only paid $8 million for the large object, even though Ranadivé proclaims Koons "the 21st-century Michelangelo."
Here's how the NYT article follows though with Ranadivé's cathedral theme:
Mr. Koons offered a slightly homier take on civic religion. He recalled visiting the top of City Hall in Philadelphia as a child, and being inspired both by the sweeping view and Alexander Milne Calder’s 37-foot-tall statue of William Penn.Koons also concedes: “I’ve never followed sports.”
“It made me feel tied to history, tied to my community,” he said. “I think it changed my life. Now, ‘Coloring Book’ is not that William Penn sculpture,” he said, “but if in some way you can touch the life of somebody, and add just a little bit of curiosity, a little bit of wonder — you can’t ask for more.”
After reading the whole NYT article and writing everything you see above, I had to Google "what animal is koons' 'coloring book' supposed to be." I found this in the Sacramento Bee:
“Coloring Book,” Jeff Koons’ artwork chosen for outside the new downtown arena, is based on Piglet, a cute animal appropriated from A. A. Milne via Walt Disney. And he’s covered with bright colors as if a child had colored outside the lines in a coloring book. How sweet. Or is it an ironic put-on?
Not according to Koons, who once said, “A viewer might at first see irony in my work ... but I see none at all. Irony causes too much critical contemplation.”Ha ha. But of course the remark is ironic... right? And therefore the sculpture is ironic... or... whatever. It doesn't really matter. It's art looking like the art of a child, which is the sort of thing that's been around for a long time. I associate it with Jean Dubuffet, who made my #1 favorite piece of public art, "Group of 4 Trees" at the Chase Manhattan Building in NYC.
It's funny that the New York Times didn't mention that the sculpture represented a character created by A.A. Milne when it referred to Alexander Milne Calder. Alexander Milne Calder should not be confused with his grandson, the 20th century sculptor Alexander Calder, who, unlike Alexander Milne Calder, was another one of those sculptors who indulge in playful childishness.
What's with all the sculptors wanting to be like little children? Is it not discordant with the rich man's burbling that his arena is like a cathedral and his artist is like Michelangelo? Michelangelo and cathedrals are quite the opposite of anything childlike.
But Jesus said: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."