new-york

Jeff Koons

Sonnabend Gallery

Jeff Koons did not become the most famous artist to emerge from the milieu of ’80s New York because of his paintings—but they have always been there. He produced works on canvas as early as 1986 in his “Luxury and Degradation” series, which appropriated liquor ads from magazines and reproduced them without alteration in oil ink on canvas. In 1992, an adamant Koons designated the photographs in his notorious “Made in Heaven” series as “paintings.” Consisting of images of Koons and his porn-star wife, Ilona Stahler (aka La Cicciolina), engaged in uninhibited sex, the works were printed with oil ink on canvas, each in an edition of three. The designation couldn’t account for the loss of uniqueness that echoed in their hybridized status; nonetheless, the series marked the first time the subject of painting usurped the place of sculpture in Koons’s practice.

“Made in Heaven” was obviously a

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