Yo, Peeps!

Mmm, Peeps. That marshmallowy goodness, that delicate drip of a beak. How I love those little chickadees and bunnies, with their beady little eyes! And now, a Peeps first: an official store has opened in DC’s National Harbor.












More Peeps art here. The dark side of Peeps here and here. Terra Cotta Peeps Warriors here. And a fabulous portrait, made from squashed Peeps, here. Peep on, Peeps.

36 responses to “Yo, Peeps!”

  1. lane says:

    another example of franchising run amok. this bird has none of the iconic power of mickey mouse.

    this thing will be bankrupt in a year.

  2. reddog says:

    peeps are the devil’s spawn

  3. Dave says:

    I’m with Lane on this. It looks like a post-bubble hiccup. The first photo, with the row of American flags flying between a background of newly built luxury condos and a foreground of a plastic-looking store that sells essentially nothing, is pleasing to my sardonic eye.

  4. Tim says:

    “this thing will be bankrupt in a year.”

    If so, think of the savings we can enjoy on that merch! I do kinda like that pink rubber peepy, which I assume floats.

    I hope there were many puns on “peep”. Did they have a “peepseum”, for instance?

  5. lane says:

    the animation on this material is crap, as cheap and unfulfilling as the marshmallow shit inside. it is interesing how looking at this you can really see how brilliant disney really is. how much we all love mickey and snow white and the simpsons and blah blah

    that bird in those sizes is so fuckin’ banal it’s incredible any stupid backer supported this thing. perhaps investment companies could use an aesthetic consultant, so to speak . . .

    as ivan once said in my presence “i smell a business opportunity . . .”

  6. Andrew says:

    The KFC bucket filled with Peeps made me a little sick to my stomach.

    And yes, this will not last. No matter how many peep puns there are.

  7. Peeps says:

    You guys are just jealous, yo. Any of you have your own store? Hah?

  8. J-man says:

    Wow – that’s so Hello Kitty. Maybe it’ll catch on.

  9. Tim Wager says:

    “so fuckin’ banal”

    What provokes such a strong response?

    Aren’t Peeps sorta like a Jeff Koons sculpture?

    Is it just that Peeps are the wrong kind of banal? Disposable? The producers of Peeps aren’t aware of how kitsch can be re-packaged as high art and used as commentary on pop culture (while also, paradoxically, squarely inhabiting it)? Peeps aren’t sold in galleries and displayed in museums? Does the Peeps store perhaps challenge your notions of what kitsch can and/or should be (i.e., isolated and neutralized by the art establishment)? Or am I confusing banal and kitsch?

    I’m really just asking, not trying to start an argument. I, too, have a hard time stomaching the Peeps store, but I generally have the same response to Koons: too frothy, airy, pre-digested. It seems to me that Koons’ Michael and Bubbles sculpture could very easily be reproduced by the millions in various sizes and sold in a store just like this one. Is it that it *could be* but *isn’t* that makes it special and different? Koons flirts with and signifies on mass culture and kitsch, but somehow inoculates himself from disposability because he approaches it from the gallery system. Is that it?

    If I remember correctly, Lane, you admire Koons quite a bit. Can you explain the difference between his kitsch and that of the Peeps store?

  10. swells says:

    Michael and Bubbles nothing–what about Koons’ huge silver blow-up rabbit? How, how, how is that different other than the lack of merchahyping (or is that the only difference?) I hate Hello Kitty for about a million reasons, but am a lifetime lover of the Peep–yes, this store is way overkill, but there’s no reason to be a peepahata. How can anyone (besides the sadly misled trixie) hate heavenly, fabulous marshmallows????

  11. Art and peeps lover says:

    You be the judge: Rabbit kitsch? Or rabbit kitsch?

  12. Jeff Koons says:

    I love banality! If you google my name + banality, you get 6 million hits! I have a whole banality section on my website!

    Plus: Mmm, peeps.

  13. lane says:

    ok i cant read any further than the jeff koons crack.

    it only goes to show you’ve never looked at a jeff koons . . .

    Now I’ll go back to reading . . .

  14. lane says:

    strong response.

    our economy is broken, we are at peak oil,

    the planet is rotting. it’s because american business keeps bilking, spewing, vomitting shit like this.

  15. lane says:

    oh ok, got to the end of that.

    it’s a fabrication issue. koons is competing with bernini, and using an american, and now global, vocaulary.

    now his carbon footprint is too large, admitedly. and he certainly makes more than he should, but his shop is relatively small compared to Disney.

    Disney to me is apples to apples. not koons.

    Disney is so GOOD compared to this because it’s drawn well. it’s SOOO cute. Koons is as good as Disney, but he’s in a different game altogether.

    does that make sense?

    Koons is the paladium-irridium standard of Disney and Peeps!

  16. lane says:

    swells, have you ever seen the ballon dog?

    the rabbit was a test run for the balloon dog. and its again, a fabrication issue. the balloon dogs cost like 2 MILLION dollars to make.

  17. lane says:

    trixie isn’t misled, she’s just calling it as she tastes it. they are overly suggary , . . air, basically. just kind of a sickly sweet confection that isn’t bad, just a little thing for kids at easter. that’s all.

    it’s just that this store is such a wasteful celebration of nothing. it smacks of krispy kreme stores being valued at like 3 billion on the NYSE. American just does this, and while it does provide jobs. it is also at the heart of our empire problem. America and its empty calorie culture.

    (and admittedly this was one blow hard rant.)

  18. J-man says:

    On a much lighter note, my friend Chris (who is a huge Peeps fan) told me about Peeps jousting.

  19. Tim Wager says:

    I’ve seen the balloon dog. I enjoyed looking at it, but looking really closely at it does nothing truly profound for me, nothing like the profundity derived from looking at a series of nearly identical Donald Judd aluminum boxes. Koons’ dog just doesn’t stick with me. I “get it” already. It’s amusing, but I gather no value from continued study beyond a quick walk around it. (The Bubbles sculpture, on the other hand, I’ve also seen. It made me want to wretch in much the same way that the Peeps store makes you want to wretch.) It seems to me that the more one stares at it, the more it becomes a superficial object (and yes, I know that that’s the point – it’s all about surface). It all breaks down to “Have you ever really looked at your hand, man?” style philosophizing.

    Why does it make a difference to you that one of the dogs costs 2 million to make? Is it just volume, quality of materials, and attention to detail that make the difference? Is there anything isolable in the aesthetic value of the dogs for you?

    “Koons is as good as Disney, but he’s in a different game altogether.”

    Is it context that makes it a different game? I hazard to guess that Koons himself might flinch at the notion that he’s in a different game altogether. It’s just a different segment of the economy, that works somewhat differently and has different players. Or am I turning Koons into Warhol here?

    Further, it occurs to me that without the existence of Peeps and Hello Kitty stores, Koons could not exist either. Kitschy pop culture is the substance he works with, upon which his craft is constituted. (And, yes, I will grant him craft, but there are plenty of well-crafted, high-end baroque furnishings (a la Bubbles) in the homes of wealthy people that I find similarly distasteful.) If the Peeps stores of the world disappeared or had never existed, we wouldn’t know how to look at a Koons. There would be nothing to get.

    Also, it may be a failure on my part, but portions of this seems to be written in codes that I don’t understand: “Disney to me is apples to apples. not koons,” and “Koons is the paladium-irridium standard of Disney and Peeps!”

  20. Jeff Koons says:

    For what it’s worth, I was eating Peeps the whole time I made that dog.

    And thanks for saying I’m as good as Disney!

  21. Tim Wager says:

    P.S. Just looked up paladium-iridium standard, so I get what you mean there. My point is that, in fact, Peeps are the paladium-iridium standard of Koons. Without the trade in Peeps, Koons’ work would have no value.

  22. lane says:

    Why does it make a difference to you that one of the dogs costs 2 million to make? Is it just volume, quality of materials, and attention to detail that make the difference? Is there anything isolable in the aesthetic value of the dogs for you?

    yeah, for me, I think it’s as cool as a judd. I really really do.

    It’s the way the surfaces bend the reflecting image around them. and the purity of it all. For me, it’s just like Judd, only funny.

    But that’s JUST the dog, and the balloons.

    I won’t really defend the bubbles piece on those terms. That work, to me, is more about the power of the icon. more like duchamps urinal. they are both ceramic as well. The fact that it sickens you means something, it really does. and the flower puppy. have you seen that?

  23. lane says:

    I hazard to guess that Koons himself might flinch at the notion that he’s in a different game altogether.

    no, look at how that disney stuff is made, on a molecular level. Murakami competes with Koons, and both beat Disney in this way. On the tiniest tiniest tiniest detail both of these artists are astonishing. far better than Disney’s fabricators.

    But I’m not interested in Murakami’s narrative. So his work doesn’t move me in the same way.

  24. lane says:

    no it’s about the physical quality of the icon.

    When I say that koons in trying to do Bernini and I mean “the ecatasy of st. teresa” I mean he’s trying for a kind of embodiment of The Church of American Commerce. Which may sicken you, true, but America is what it is, kind of sickening.

    The other thing that makes Koons so compelling is HIS narrative behind the work. “It’s never just the work, it’s also the performance of the artist.”

    Koons’ work is both a completely impersonal embodiment of American Culture but also the very strange public demonstration, or processing (in a Jungian sense, i suppose) about his deeply conflicted feelings around sexuality and childhood. The pleasure of sex and the responsibility of adulthood, marriage, commitment, fatherhood.

    And this part of my loving his work falls under the weight of “artist’s intentionality” Who cares what Jeff means?!?! or what his tacky little baubles “mean” he’s grosss and his work is gross too.

    Well that’s true. While I can defend certain works as being as good as Bernini, The Rabbit, the Dog, The Other Balloon Things, Michael Jackson, and the Basketballs, and maybe a Vacuum thing (just for laughs). Other parts of his output are somewhat hollow. But all artists are like this.

    The works that are good embody a kind of clean, hollow, nice, but dangerous aspect of male sexuality. The monkey sits on Micheal’s crotch, becoming his smiling dick. The bunny holds a carrot. The balloons are swollen. They are emblems of America’s silly fecundity.

  25. lane says:

    and see, this exchange, in micro-cosim, is exactly what drives the value of his work.

    he pisses people off, deeply.

  26. Tim Wager says:

    “he pisses people off, deeply.”

    Just like Peeps!

  27. Tim Wager says:

    FWIW, Koons doesn’t really piss me off. I just find most of his stuff to be easily dismissed.

    “The Church of American Commerce. Which may sicken you, true, but America is what it is, kind of sickening.”

    And that, then, is what startles me about your strong negative response to the Peeps Store (TM). Koons, for me at least, seems very comfortable with the Church of American Commerce. His pieces (at least the ones that I know) strike me as calculated to resonate within this house of worship and to point out that there is no outside to this Church. The art world is just the same, worshiping its own ideas and ideals of value (craft, attention to detail, expense, back story, Jungian theory) that accrue monetary worth and inflate prices.

    Also FWIW, I find Donald Judd to funny as hell, and I love his stuff for it.

  28. Jeff Koons says:

    Don’t miss my comments above, please. Apparently they got caught in the spam filter. Is that a commentary on my art?

  29. D. Judd says:

    See, this is what I hate. I’m NOT trying to be FUNNY at ALL.

  30. lane says:

    this idea of talking about “the art world” like it’s some unified body is whole inaccurate.

    his work isn’t respected because it’s becomes expensive, it becomes expensive because it’s respected.

    as to “it’s own ideas and ideals of value – craft, attention to detail, expense (read use of the the best fabricators) back story, Jungian theory – what other ideas are we supposed to worship?

    The difference in what’s in the Peep store and a Koons is in its making. If Koons were to be the art director of the Peep Store you would know the difference. He would breath life into those objects. And that is back to my original point. Disney stores are so much better, Mickey Mouse, as a character, as an icon, as a loveable figure is so much more loveable that that stupid little bird.

    No one will ever love that little peep. It is on it’s way to an anonymous grave.

  31. lane says:

    those beady little eyes!


  32. Peep's mom says:

    I love that little peep! He’s my peep, and I love him! Ya bully.

  33. LP says:

    For the record, Peeps have been around since 1958. So, somebody obviously loves them – that’s some serious staying power.

  34. LP says:

    If you do want to kill a Peep, however, cigarettes are apparently the way to go.

  35. LP says:

    Oops, I mean, cigarettes and alcohol. Just cigarettes won’t do it, apparently.

  36. Stella says:

    Peeps aside, Dave called it. National Harbor is a manufactured, inauthentic urban environment created in the suburbs for people who don’t want to experience the dirty, creative, reality of the city. It’s a sanitized commodity entirely run by hotel and retail chains. It’s directly drawing visitors and revenue from the very real and disenfranchised city of Washington, D.C.

    Great pix, LP.