Born in 1955 in York, Pennsylvania, American artist Jeffrey Lynn Koons is considered one of the most prominent and influential contemporary artists to emerge in the post war era. He studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and then received his BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore in 1976. His first job entailed working at the Museum of Modern Art after moving to New York in 1977. Koons went on to work as a commodities broker on Wall Street to finance the art he would later create.
He is known for his exploration of the meaning behind art through the usage of easily recognisable objects found in mass media seen through various contexts and references. His first major exhibition in 1980 called ‘The New’ displayed heavily commercialised objects like vacuum cleaners in Plexiglass boxes lit with fluorescent lights - a comment on America’s heavy reliance on consumption. This was followed by ‘Equilibrium’ in 1985, suspending basketballs in large aquariums filled with water. His inflatable objects gained him recognition globally with his exploration of toy-like objects. He also gained appreciation for his work with pop culture, one of which was the widely recognised sculpture of Michael Jackson posed with his chimpanzee Bubbles for his series Banality.
Koons’ Celebration series, starting in 1994 and going on to the late 2000s, was the beginning of his work with oil paintings. These hyper-realistic artworks and sculptures evoke nostalgia with images like jewellery, foods and household objects. His latest works including the Gazing Ball series and Antiquity series harken to Old Master paintings and Renaissance sculptures, both with his own unique spin to them.
Jeff Koons’ works are housed in permanent collections of several museums around the world including the Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Modern Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. He also received several awards for his work including the Wollaston Award from the Royal Academy of Arts, London in 2008 and the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement in 2014 ;