{The 20th Century Sublime: Volume 5} “Made in Heaven” by Jeff Koons (1990-1991)

Is it pornography or is it art? I don’t know and, really, who the hell cares anymore? These parlour room conversations may have been relevant back in the 1980s and 1990s, when highbrow socialites needed more than a little whiskey in their after-dinner coffee to feel alive, but in the twenty-first century, when we have passed through the looking glass, the shame of sexual repression has become the new pornography.

When I look at Made in Heaven it lights me up in all the right places, but not where you might think. Have a look at the scattered posts around The New Poetics and you’ll see its influence disseminated throughout. Made in Heaven did not, in fact, lower art to the level of pornography. It raised pornography to the lofty planes of high art. It helped make art sexy again, and sex arty, relocating the appreciation of art away from the cerebellum towards the more sensual regions of the body, in ways D.H. Lawrence surely would have appreciated.

When I look at Made in Heaven I think of Lady Chatterley’s Lover or The Woman Who Rode Away or just real life, where domesticated love, for better, or worse, sometimes takes a turn for the pornographic in search of a little alleyway spice, and where  brothels sometimes play host to the debutante balls of our many up-and-coming Romeos and Juliets.

Meanwhile, back in our twisted real world, artist Jeff Koons eventually married model Ciccolina, who was a real life porn actress, to make an honest women out of her, and they had kids, and lived a happy monogamous life together for many years, and if that doesn’t sum up Made in Heaven in nutshell, nothing will.

Made In Heaven