One of the most prominent artists working today, Jeff Koons is well known for his bold paintings and sculptures. Typically working in series, his art holds up a mirror to contemporary consumer culture, using the photorealistic, commercial aesthetic familiar from an earlier generation of Pop artists to generate his own unique and universally recognizable style. His subjects range from toys to inflatables to household items to luxury goods and sexualized imagery. His references to popular media are evidenced not merely in his choice of subject matter but also in his visual techniques: his sculptures often involve smooth, glistening surfaces while his paintings employ bright and saturated colors.
Born in 1955 in York, Pennsylvania, Koons studied at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He received his B.F.A. from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 1976. Koons began working with David Zwirner in 2012. His inaugural exhibition at the gallery in New York debuted a new series of sculptures, titled Gazing Ball, in 2013.
In 2014, a retrospective of Koons’s work comprising over one hundred sculptures and paintings that date from 1978 to the present was hosted by the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, marking the artist’s first major museum presentation in the city. The exhibition traveled later in the year to Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, followed by Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in 2015.
Koons had his first solo exhibition in 1980 at the New Museum in New York. In 1988, his first American survey was held at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. From 1992 to 1993, two retrospectives toured through Europe and the United States, and venues included Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Staatsgalerie Stuttgart; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Denmark.
Solo exhibitions from the past decade include those organized by Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples, 2003; Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, 2004 (traveled to the Helsinki City Art Museum, 2005); Château de Versailles, France, 2008; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, 2008; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2008; Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, 2008; Serpentine Gallery, London, 2009; Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, 2011; Fondation Beyeler, Basel, 2012; and Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt and Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung, Frankfurt, a joint exhibition in 2012.
Work by the artist is held in public collections including The Broad Art Foundation, Santa Monica, California; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Tate Gallery, London; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. He lives and works in New York.