Fun_People Archive
20 Dec
I can't define porno, but I know it when I want to see more of it

Date: Tue, 20 Dec 94 16:47:30 PST
To: Fun_People
Subject: I can't define porno, but I know it when I want to see more of it

Forwarded-by: "" <>
Forwarded-By: jas@talking.COM (Jim Shankland)
Originally-From: The New Yorker

[XYZ, you may recall an article by Adam Gopnik that I sent you a few
years ago, reviewing Jeff Koons's "Made in Heaven" exhibition, which
consisted primarily of photographs of the artist making love with his
wife, the Italian porn star Ilona Staller.  We can thank the New Yorker
for the following update.]

  New York State Supreme Court Justice David B. Saxe, wearing his
  traditional black robe and a dour expression, sat at the bench of his
  darkened courtroom last week and watched a videotape of a woman having
  sexual intercourse with a large black snake (tail first).  Also viewing
  the spectacle, from the witness stand, was the artist Jeff Koons, who had
  something in common with the snake.  The woman in the video was Koons's
  estranged wife, Ilona Staller -- or, as she is better known, La Cicciolina
  -- and the occasion for the screening was the couple's divorce and the
  custody battle over their two-year-old son, Ludwig Maximilian Koons.
  Staller, a Hungarian-born pornography star who once was elected to the
  Italian Parliament, was not in the courtroom but back in Italy with
  Ludwig, whom she had taken there earlier this year.

  The trial proceeded anyway, and, like so much of the couple's life, it
  was open to the public: anybody wandering around the courthouse could have
  dropped in for the showing of scenes from "Banane al Cioccolato,"
  "Honorable et Perverse Cicciolina," and "Carne Volente," three of six
  tapes that, in keeping with the austere nature of the proceedings, had
  been bound with a rubber band as "Exhibit 61."

  Before the tapes were shown, Koons, wearing a modish blue suit and no tie,
  testified for several hours about his three-year marriage.  His words were
  revealing, but in a new way.  "To have a family based on Protestant values
  was important to me," he said, sounding more alike an applicant for an
  N.E.A. grant than like the radical artist he professes to be -- the artist
  who, only three years ago, recorded his own explicit sexual adventures
  with Staller in an infamous series of photographs, paintings, and
  sculptures entitled "Made In Heaven."  Koons explained that he had
  pressured Staller to convert from Catholicism to Protestantism, and that
  she had relented.  Then he berated her pornographic work as "vile" and
  "vulgar." Sounding downright Helmsian, he declared, "She'll do anything
  to dismantle cultural mores."

  Koons's attorney, Mark, H. Alcott, thought it time to "get a picture of
  what's involved" in the dismantling of cultural mores, so he nodded to a
  young associate, who cued up a VCR.  Alcott warned the judge that the
  material was "quite raw," prompting a general rearrangement of courtroom
  spectators, all seeking a clear view of the screen.  When everyone got
  settled, the lights were extinguished.

  Before each scene was shown, Koons, in an emotionless drone, read a short
  synopsis of the tape: "Ilona goes into the crowd topless and bottomless
  and lets members of the audience fondle her breasts and genitals."  The
  court watched La Cicciolina have sex with three men at once, to reggae.
  On another tape, she had sex with a fat man in a field.  A few motifs
  began to establish themselves: a glass phallus, a Teddy bear.  Then there
  was the bit with the snake.  "Holy smoke," someone muttered, and Judge
  Saxe, who had been sitting impassively throughout the viewing, cast a
  magisterial glance at Alcott.  That was enough.  As Koons was reading away
  ("Then she and the dog urinate on the floor"), Alcott again nodded to the
  associate, and he turned off the television.  A court officer rekindled
  the lights, Judge Saxe called for a brief recess, and the court reporter
  summoned Alcott.  "How do you spell 'Banane al Cioccolato'?" he needed to
  know for the record.

[=] © 1994 Peter Langston []