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DVD Review: The Jeff Koons Show

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The Jeff Koons Show is an Alison Chernick film about which Jerry Saltz (Senior Art Critic, New York magazine) says, “Chernick cracks through the façade of Koons’ enigmatic ebullience to reveal the phantasmagorical depth of a tremendously complex and creative emptiness.” What more does a film need to recommend it?

Who is Jeff Koons? Jeff Koons is a man who saw an opening—the world’s greatest living artist and decided to fill it . As a child, he went from house to house selling gift wrap to his neighbors; as an adult he became a stockbroker in order to finance his dream of being an artist.

Koons fashions much of his art from aluminum, but he created two huge pieces (one of a puppy) that are covered with living flowers. He elevates the banal—those everyday items with which we are all familiar—into high priced art. Inflatable pool toys dominate some of his work; other pieces are about equilibrium and feature basketballs. He has created many collections on a variety of themes.

Chernick features gossipy segments about Koons’ very public private life, including his marriage to porn star Cicciolina, who later became a member of the Italian parliament. Koons had created a show featuring himself and Cicciolina engaged in sexual intercourse, “Made in  Heaven,” and both the explicit and narcissistic aspects of the works for that show are explored.

Jeff Koons appears to be a simple man who claims that his works have no meaning other than what the observer’s first impression might be. A red balloon dog is a red balloon dog, even when crafted from aluminum and ten feet tall. This simple man’s works, however, bears extremely rich prices; some of his pieces have sold for $25-million or more.

The Jeff Koons Show is a superficial look at a man who wants to be viewed superficially. The audience learns something about his feelings concerning art, but the man himself remains a cypher.

There is one extra feature on The Jeff Koons Show, a short film with Koons discussing some of the works at an exhibit he curated (“Skin Fruit”). He explains some of the pieces he selected for the show, and elaborates on his philosophies of both art and collecting.

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