Jeff Loves Cicciolina: Looking Back at ‘Made in Heaven’

The imagery of Made in Heaven includes the giant glamour-aesthetic posters of Cicciolina and Jeff, as well as intricate glass sculptures of the couple having sex.

As the cliché goes, and as Lana Del Rey sings: life imitates art. In 1989, the artist Jeff Koons created a series called Made in Heaven, centered around a photoshoot with Italian porn star (turned politician) Cicciolina, AKA llona Staller. The photos for the show, done in airbrushed ’80s porn-mag glamour style, and employing Cicciolina’s usual photographer, would cross the line between pornography and art, between “good” taste and bad, it would be about obscenity and romance and the staged celebration of a relationship that didn’t yet exist but would blossom quickly.

Koons had seen photos of Cicciolina in a magazine and approached her during a live show about the photoshoot, which quickly sprang into a love affair and then a marriage. It somehow didn’t matter that Cicciolina spoke very little English and that Koons’ efforts to communicate amounted to him pronouncing English words with an Italian accent! The couple had to rely on a translator to get through the courtship, a tradition that Ludwig (who has a tattoo on his neck of his own name) would continue when (it’s rumored) he visited the studio as an adult and had to have his girlfriend act as a translator with his estranged father…. read more >

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