Jeff Koons: A Retrospective
Audio Guide Playlist

This audio guide features commentary by artist Jeff Koons, Scott Rothkopf, the Whitney's Nancy and Steve Crown Family Curator and Associate Director of Programs, Michelle Kuo, editor of Artforum magazine, and Amy Adler, the Emily Kempin Professor at New York University Law School.

NARRATOR: Some months after Koons made the Made in Heaven billboard with Ilona Staller, he returned to her studio for additional photo shoots in order to make a sculpture and additional paintings.

SCOTT ROTHKOPF: Once he began this series, he realized the series had greater potential, and, in fact, he also realized that he was falling in love with his model or his costar.

NARRATOR: In 1991, Koons and Staller were married. 

SR: What began as work for hire or a project between an artist an model became a document or form of self-portraiture that was chronicling their personal life. Their personal life and his work became so entwined that it became difficult to tell the difference between one and the other.

JEFF KOONS: I decided that what was really important in the body of work was the embrace of one's own body. 

NARRATOR: Jeff Koons.

JK: We take it for granted, but a lot of people don't accept nature. They don't accept the concept of procreation, how it actually works or our bodies, how we function as an organism. The Made in Heaven show was an extension of this dialogue of acceptance. Accepting oneself and being able to go out and accept others.

SCOTT ROTHKOPF: Some feminist scholars, at the time, were appalled by these images because they felt that they were very degrading of Staller, Koons's wife at the time.

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