SCOTTROTHKOPF: I think that people are right to question the sexual politics of these images. And I think what makes them interesting and problematic in the long run is that the sexual politics of them is not so easy to pin down.
In fact, Staller herself was overseeing a media empire. She created these costumes, these sets, this world. And Koons, in a way, is a visitor into that scenario.
Also, if you look closely at these pictures, there are some very interesting details. Koons is wearing a lot of makeup on his face. His eyebrows are stylized. He’s actually trimmed some of his body hair. He’s gone into a mode of self-presentation that one doesn’t generally associate with the burly, masculine conqueror. There’s something very queer about these pictures, to me, about seeing an artist so obviously made up. Even though he’s in a heterosexual scenario, he’s surrounded by all sorts of slightly girly attributes, with sequins, flowers, and tiaras.
At the same time, he would say that in showing their most personal sex life and making it public, there was no way for them to be, in fact, ever degraded by voyeurism because they had taken control of their nudity, of their sexual activity and shared it with the world.
NARRATOR: This idea led Koons and Staller to make increasingly explicit images of their sexual relationship.