I think Jeff Koons has clearly won the argument over whether he’s just knocking out or making knock-offs of kitsch or whether he’s a serious artist. His work deserves a prominent place in art history that began with Duchamp turning a urinal upside down, and exhibiting it in the 1919 Armory Show. Koons is master of having us ooh and aah over the banal–vacuum cleaners, sponges, a whistling tea kettle.
This is a show people bring their kids to because of his large sculpture of a lumpen pile of Pay Doh, his bright, stainless steel sculptures of balloon figures, his mirrored shapes of cartoon figures, and how about his Incredible Hulk that has an organ built into it? But do you really want your kids to see his 1989 MADE IN HEAVEN series of billboard-sized images of Koons and his ex wife, former porn star and member of Italian parliament, Ilona Staller, acting out their sexual fantasies? Do you want to give them a close-up of a Brazilian wax, or whatever they called the pubic and anal shave back then? Really?
Well, maybe they will walk away just remembering the bunnies (not Playboy) and the black granite Popeye with a bouquet of red roses.
Go see it. Maybe leave the kids home?