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‘Their Work Cannot Be Taken at Face Value’: Massimiliano Gioni on Curating a Duchamp/Koons Blockbuster for Museo Jumex

It has been a big month for Jeff Koons. One of his most famous pieces, Rabbit (1986), sold for $91.4 million at Christie’s in New York, allowing him to reclaim his status as the most expensive living artist, and shortly after, New York Times co-chief art critic Roberta Smith defended the often-reviled figure in an essay titled “Stop Hating Jeff Koons.” Meanwhile, a major show featuring the artist opened in Mexico City at the Museo Jumex: “Appearance Stripped Bare: Desire and the Object in the Works of Marcel Duchamp and Jeff Koons, Even.” Running through September 29, it’s a 70-work blockbuster that looks at how those two giants of 20th-century art history were affected by—and helped shape—commodity culture. In advance of the exhibition, ARTnews sat down with the show’s curator, Massimiliano Gioni, to discuss the affair. Over coffee in the lobby of the New Museum in New York, where Gioni is artistic director, the show’s curator chatted about, among other things, Koons’s cynicism and why Duchamp was a sellout...

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