Jeff, Embrace Your Past
Release Date: 2014-09-17
In 1992, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art put on the first major museum retrospective of the work of Jeff Koons, who, at a boyish 37, was already an art-world sensation. His series “Made in Heaven,” a set of photorealist paintings depicting himself and his wife Ilona Staller—a famous porn star—in various acrobatic coital poses, had premiered the past year to enormous controversy, and his collected body of work, with its heavy use of readymades and its assembly-line style production methods, was already inspiring a question that continues to stoke debate: is Koons a canny media critic, or a cynical market-reader trading in repurposed junk? Roger Teich’s compelling, keen-eyed short documentary, filmed at and around the exhibit, leaves that question tantalizingly open. The result is a multi-sided portrait of a man whose work continues to raise difficult, probing questions about the role of the artist in society.