Jeff Koons was born in York, PA in 1955. He obtained a B.F.A at The Maryland Institute, College of Art, Baltimore, and also studied at the Art Institute of Chicago. Since his emergence in the 1980s Jeff Koons has blended the concerns and methods of Pop, Conceptual, and appropriation art with craft-making and popular culture to create his own unique iconography, often controversial and always engaging. His work explores contemporary obsessions with sex and desire; race and gender; and celebrity, media, commerce, and fame. A self-proclaimed "idea man", Koons hires artisans and technicians to make the actual works. Since gaining recognition in the 1980s he set up a factory-like studio in a SoHo loft on the corner of Houston and Broadway in New York. Koons’ studio is staffed with over 30 assistants, each assigned to a different aspect of producing his work - similar to Andy Warhol’s Factory or the studio of Damien Hirst. For him, the hand of the artist is not the important issue: "Art is really just communication of something and the more archetypal it is, the more communicative it is."
Jeff Koons' artworks rarely inspire moderate responses, and this is one signal of the importance of his achievement. Focusing on some of the most unexpected objects as models for his work, Koons' works eschew typical standards of "good taste" in art and zero in rather precisely on the vulnerabilities of hierarchies and value systems. As critic Christopher Knight has written "He turns the traditional cliché of the work of art inside out: Rather than embodying a spiritual or expressive essence of a highly individuated artist, art here is composed from a distinctly American set of conventional middle-class values."
Since his first solo show in 1980, Koons has exhibited extensively around the world including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the Walker Art Center, the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Francisco, the Stedelijk Museum, the Astrup Fearnley Museum for Modern Art, and the Victoria & Albert Museum. In addition, he was represented in the 1997 Venice Biennale. His latest series, the Celebration paintings and sculptures continues to subvert the ideas of 'high art' by playing on a sense of collective memory and familiarity. The series was highlighted in a widely acclaimed exhibition at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples, Italy in 2003.
Jeff Koons lives and works in New York.