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‘Jeff Koons: Diary Of A Seducer’

With the Jeff Koons retrospective that packed out the old Whitney last year now at the Guggenheim in Bilbao, BBC1’s flagship arts program Imagine is dedicating an eighty-minute special to him. The program includes several scenes of Koons showing the Imagine presenter and long-serving British broadcaster Alan Yentob around the exhibition, explaining his work in ways that won’t necessarily convince the doubters. (“The only thing you really have in life is your interests and when you focus on them it takes you to a connecting place where time really kind of bends.”) It also provides useful accounts of Koons’s childhood and of his time as a student hanging out in Chicago’s midget bars and strip clubs with the painter Ed Paschke.

Mostly, though, it concentrates on perhaps the thorniest issue of them all: is Koons’s art any good? Given Yentob’s tendency to lionize his subjects, you might expect the answer to be a ringing yes. In fact, the program proves almost heroically balanced. Essentially, it invites a lot of distinguished critics, artists and dealers to give their conflicting opinions and leaves us to make up our own minds; or, if you prefer, it rather sits on the fence.

Not that you can entirely blame it. Imagine has always had a better class of talking heads than most, and here the cases both for and against are put with equal conviction and intelligence by, among others, Jeffrey Deitch, Hal Foster, Norman Rosenthal, and Damien Hirst.

For more information, visit bbc.co.uk.

Category: Television
Broadcasting House,
London, England