About the Artist

Jeff Koons, 2014

Jeff Koons, 2014

Jeff Koons is one of America’s most successful and controversial artists.

Early Life and Education

Jeff Koons was born in York, Pennsylvania in 1955. His father was an interior designer, his mother a seamstress. Koons showed an interest in art at a young age. One of his teenage idols was Salvador Dali. When he was a teenager, Koons visited Dali at the St. Regis Hotel in New York and even grew a Dali mustache when he moved to the city after college. Koons studied painting at the Maryland Institute of Art in Baltimore and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he met Polish-American Imagist painter, Ed Paschke, for whom he worked as a studio assistant and who became a major influence on his work.

Career and Family Life

Always an entrepreneur, even as a child, in 1977, Koons worked at the membership desk at MoMA, then became a licensed broker and worked on Wall Street, while he painted and began to establish himself as an artist. Koons has always taken his ideas, no matter how wild, and run with them. His first series of work included household items, like sponges, placed on a shelf between mirrors, followed by a series of common objects attached to light fixtures and then a display of vacuum cleaners.

HIs most recognizable works are probably the sculptures he made using inflatable toys. Many of Koons works have been commissioned by major museums, including, Puppy, which is installed outside the Guggenheim Museum in Bilboa. Koons works and lives in New York with his wife, Justine Wheeler. The couple have six children. He has been a board member of The International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children since 2002, and co-founded the Koons Family International Law and Policy Institute, for the purpose of combating global issues of child abduction and exploitation and to protect children around the world.

Koons’ work can found at major museums and galleries around the world, including the MoMA, the Tate London, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, the National Galleries of Scotland and Australia, the Whitney and many others.