Jeff Koons
American artist
Jeff Koons
Jeffrey "Jeff" Koons is an American artist known for his reproductions of banal objects—such as Balloon animals produced in stainless steel with mirror finish surfaces. He lives and works in New York City and his hometown York, Pennsylvania. Koons' work has sold for substantial sums of money including at least one world record auction price for a work by a living artist.
Biography
Jeff Koons's personal information overview.
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Cannes, Popcorn and 'Lumière!': A Conversation with Thierry Frémaux in Dubai
Huffington Post - 2 months
What if you could take a journey through space and time and find yourself back in 1895 at the very moment of the invention of something so groundbreaking and new, it may seem nearly impossible to imagine? Well, contrary to what it sounds like, this is not the tagline of the latest sci-fi movie, or another sequel to Back to the Future -- it was the easiest way I could grab your attention in presenting the wonder that is Lumière! a cinematic presentation by Thierry Frémaux. For cinema insiders of course Monsieur Frémaux needs no introduction, he is the legendary artistic director of the Festival de Cannes. He is also the director of the Institut Lumière in Lyon, which is where his passion for the inventors of modern cinema, as we know and love it today, comes from. When I use the word passion in his case, I am not throwing it around lightly. His enthusiasm for the films of the Lumière brothers, Auguste and Louis, is infectious and now that he's curated them into a full-length film ...
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Huffington Post article
The Art of Style: Jeff Koons Designs a Snowboard (With an Assist From Plato)
NYTimes - 3 months
The American artist joins with Burton to create ... the Philosopher.
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NYTimes article
Jeff Koons Gives France A Giant Bouquet Of Flowers, But It Comes With A Price
NPR - 3 months
The work of art is meant to honor the victims of the November 2015 terrorist attacks. Construction is already underway on Bouquet of Tulips -- but not all Parisians are pleased with the gift.
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NPR article
Jeff Koons gives sculpture to Paris to honour attacks victims
Yahoo News - 3 months
American artist Jeff Koons on Monday announced he would give Paris a "Bouquet of Tulips" sculpture as an offering of remembrance for the victims of the November 2015 jihadist attacks, city hall said. The sculpture will represent a huge hand holding out a multicoloured bouquet of tulips, the contemporary artist said at the US embassy in Paris, a statement said. Koons said the sculpture was designed as an offering in memory of the victims and as a symbol of optimism, in an effort to help Paris overcome the tragedy that struck the French capital on November 13 last year.
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Yahoo News article
Jeff Koons Is Giving Sculpture to Paris to Remember Terror Victims
NYTimes - 3 months
His sculpture “Bouquet of Tulips” will be permanently installed next year in the plaza in front of the Museum of Modern Art and the Palais de Tokyo.
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NYTimes article
An $8 Million Arena Sculpture to Usher In Civilization 3.0
NYTimes - 5 months
Jeff Koons’s “Coloring Book” sculpture outside the home of the Sacramento Kings is the latest example of the art world becoming a player in the sports world.
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NYTimes article
Let's Put 'Artpop' Behind Us And Appreciate Lady Gaga's 'Perfect Illusion' Music Video
Huffington Post - 5 months
In case you didn’t hear the global gay gasp that occurred at approximately 9:50 p.m. on Tuesday night, Lady Gaga has a new music video for “Perfect Illusion,” the lead single off the singer’s fifth studio album, “Joanne.” Released during the premiere of Fox’s “Scream Queens” (touché, Ryan Murphy, touché), our queen has officially entered a new era. Gone are the “Artpop” days of Botticelli clam shells, Jeff Koons paintings and misguided R. Kelly collaborations. Gaga’s new aesthetic? Rocker tees, ponytail moments that keep Ariana Grande up at night, microphone twirls and short shorts that would make Daisy Duke fret about a yeast infection.  Directed by longtime friend Ruth Hogben, the music video finds the singer stripped down and channeling her inner rock goddess. Set in the desert with a mosh pit full of grunged youth and collaborators Mark Ronson, Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker, and BloodPop, this is Gaga like we’ve never seen her before.  It’s a step in the ...
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Huffington Post article
Rejoice! Lady Gaga Confirms Release Date For New Album 'Joanne'
Huffington Post - 5 months
Little Monsters, rejoice! Lady Gaga has just revealed the release date and title of her new album.  “Joanne” ― named as a tribute to her late aunt, and as a nod to her own middle name ― will be the singer’s fifth album, and will be released on Oct. 21. Gaga made the announcement on Apple Radio’s Beats 1 on Wednesday. She also shared the news and the album cover with her followers on social media.  The image is a far cry from 2013’s Jeff-Koons-designed “Artpop” cover. It shows Gaga looking ahead from the side, while wearing a wide-brimmed pink hat. Her blond hair is left down over her shoulders, and she’s wearing little makeup.  LADY GAGA / JOANNE NEW ALBUM OCT 21 A photo posted by Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) on Sep 15, 2016 at 11:56am PDT During her interview with Beats 1’s Zane Lowe, the 30-year-old artist revealed the album is “going to be done in the next 48 hours.”  “We’re really making sure that we’re listening very clearly to everything and ...
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About That Sexy Cat In Kanye West's 'Fade' Video
Huffington Post - 6 months
Kanye West debuted the video for “Life of Pablo” track “Fade” at Sunday night’s MTV Video Music Awards. The video was met with one resounding response from fans and critics alike: What’s the deal with that sexy cat-lady?  For the majority of the three-minute, 45-second video, viewers ogle the oiled up bod of bananas beautiful Teyana Taylor as she danced “Flashdance”-style around a retro gymnasium. Toward the end, she hops into the shower with her real-life partner Iman Shumpert of the Cleveland Cavaliers, where they proceed to love on each other in the most private of spaces in the most public of ways.  But the real kicker comes about 15 seconds from the end, when Taylor poses nude alongside her man. Only, she’s been transformed into some kind of cat-woman hybrid. The newly animorphed babe and her beau stare intensely into the camera as it pans out to reveal a flock of white sheep, and also a baby. Suddenly, we’re looking at a strangely sexual family pastoral, all in the video’ ...
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French magnate finally finds Paris home for artworks
Yahoo News - 10 months
By Laetitia Volga PARIS (Reuters) - French luxury goods magnate Francois Pinault is finally achieving his ambition of opening a museum in Paris to house his vast private art collection a decade after he ditched previous plans over red tape and opened a gallery in Venice instead. Pinault, a self-made billionaire who soon turns 80, is considered one of the world's biggest collectors of modern art with some 3,000 works produced by the likes of Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons and Takashi Murakami. The museum, to be located at the Bourse de Commerce building, a former grain exchange in a part of Paris synonymous with a bygone era of inner-city food wholesale markets, is set to open in 2018 under a deal with the city.
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Yahoo News article
Five New Art Books
Huffington Post - about 1 year
  The Wiener Werkstätte Released on Taschen   Founded in 1903 by Josef Hoffmann, Koloman Moser, and Fritz Waerndorfer, this progressive alliance of artists and designers were particularly interested in challenging industrialized society with individual handcraftsmanship and bringing different facets of life into one unified, elegant artwork. The Wiener Werkstätte (“Vienna Workshop”) is recognized for its comprehensive approach to artistic practice and influence on the Art Deco and Bauhaus movements.    Pop Art  Released on Taschen Tilman Osterwold explores the styles, sources, and stars of the Pop Art phenomenon. From Lichtenstein’s comic-book aesthetics to Warhol’s images of Marilyn, the book explores how a movement that interrogated the icons of its time came to produce icons of its own. Pop Art began as a revolt against mainstream approaches to art and culture and evolved into a wholesale interrogation of modern society, consumer culture, and the role ...
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The Pitti Uomo Diaries A/W 2016-17: Losing a Fashion Icon, but Fighting Fear with Style
Huffington Post - about 1 year
Just as this season's Pitti Uomo was about to kick off, we lost the Thin White Duke, that incredible and legendary fashion icon that is David Bowie. "Ashes to ashes, funk to funky," Bowie has left us and we now hope he'll be watching over us from his star, bestowing upon the world more style inspiration and spectacular fashion mantras. If the first day of Pitti Uomo 89 is any indication, menswear is already paying tribute to a style legend of reinvention, flair and colors. Kicking it off and finding courage, Pitti Uomo style. At the opening ceremony for this year's Pitti Uomo, featuring the theme "Pitti Generation(s)" inside the Palazzo Vecchio, Andrea Cavicchi, the new President of the Centro di Firenze per la Moda Italiana pointed to the solidarity shown by the city of Florence for the grand af-fair that is Pitti Uomo. Here we were, Cavicchi said, "kicking off the fair in this iconic building that represents Florence." And indeed, there is no other, better way of rememb ...
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So These Three Artists Walk Into a Jeff Koons Show... The Artist as CEO... and Why Skill in Art is No Joke
Huffington Post - about 1 year
He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with this hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist. - Louis Nizer Artists Steven Assael (left) and Mikel Glass (right) discuss some of Jeff Koons's Gazing Ball paintings on view at Gagosian Gallery, New York. Photo by F. Scott Hess. Reading the Gagosian Gallery press release for Gazing Ball -- which was comprised of meticulous copies of classic paintings bolted to aluminum shelves containing reflective blue glass balls -- you might get the impression that Jeff Koons is a painter: "Gagosian Gallery is pleased to present a new series of paintings by Jeff Koons entitled Gazing Ball." Yeah right, everyone knows that Koons doesn't paint, as this revealing quote in a 2012 New York Times magazine piece -- "I Was Jeff Koons's Studio Serf" -- confirms: I'm basically the idea person," Jeff Koons once told an interviewer. "I'm not physically involved in ...
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Jeff Koons
    FIFTIES
  • 2014
    Age 59
    In 2014, he got approval to merge the two buildings into one mega-mansion, with a reported renovation cost estimated at US$4.85 million.
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    In September 2014 the bi-annual arts and culture publication GARAGE Magazine published Jeff Koons' first ever digital artwork for the front of its print edition.
    More Details Hide Details The piece, titled Lady Bug, is an augmented reality sculpture that can only be viewed on mobile devices through a GARAGE Magazine app, which allows viewers to explore the piece from a variety of angles as if standing on top of it. In 2012, Koons bought Advanced Stone Technologies, an offshoot of the non-profit Johnson Atelier Technical Institute of Sculpture's stone division. He moved the high-tech stone workshop from New Jersey to a larger, space in Morrisville, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The facility exists solely to fabricate Koons's works made of stone.
    In summer 2014 Split-Rocker was installed at Rockefeller Plaza in New York City for several months in coincidence with the opening of Koons's retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
    More Details Hide Details Paintings and sculptures from the Popeye series, which Koons began in 2002, feature the cartoon figures of Popeye and Olive Oyl. One such item is a stainless steel reproduction of a mass-market PVC Popeye figurine. Works from the ongoing series Hulk Elvis range from precision-machined bronze sculptures—inspired by an inflatable of the popular comic book hero and extruded in three dimensions—to large-scale paintings. The works Hulk (Friends) and Hulks (Bell) (both 2004-2012) feature apparently inflatable Incredible Hulks that actually weigh almost a ton each and are made of bronze and wood. Referring to the ancient Roman marble statue Callipygian Venus, Metallic Venus (2010–2012) was made of high chromium stainless steel with transparent color coating and live flowering plants. At the center of each scene in the Antiquity paintings (2009–13) is a famous ancient or classical sculpture, meticulously rendered in oil paint and scaled to the same size as the sculptures. The equally detailed backdrops include an Arcadian vision.
    As of 2014, he owns one of them; the other is in the collection of Mitchell Rales.
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  • 2013
    Age 58
    The album cover depicts a nude sculpture of Gaga made by Koons behind a blue ball sculpture, and pieces of other art works in the background such as Birth of Venus painted by Sandro Botticelli, which inspired Gaga's image through the new era, including in her music video for Applause and the performance of the song at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards.
    More Details Hide Details The image of the cover was revealed piece-by-piece in a social marketing campaign where her fans had to tweet the Twitter hashtag "#iHeartARTPOP" to unlock it. Koons has also produced some fine wine-related commissions. In December 2012, Chateau Mouton Rothschild announced that Koons was the artist for their 2010 vintage label - a tradition that was started in 1946. Other artists to design labels include Pablo Picasso, Francis Bacon, Salvador Dalí and Joan Miró, amongst others. In August 2013, Dom Pérignon released their 2004 vintage, with a special edition done by Koons, as well as a made-to-order case called the 'Balloon Venus'. This has a recommended retail price of €15,000.
  • 2010
    Age 55
    In 2010, he bought the neighbouring 10,000-square-foot mansion at 13 East 67th Street, the longtime home of Barbara Sears Rockefeller, for US$20 million.
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  • 2009
    Age 54
    In 2009, Koons purchased 11 East 67th Street for US$12 million.
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  • 2008
    Age 53
    In 2008, Staller filed suit against Koons for failure to pay child support.
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    In total, Koons was the top-selling artist at auction with €81.3 million of sales in the year to June 2008.
    More Details Hide Details During the late 2000s recession, however, art prices plummeted and auction sales of high-value works by Koons dropped 50 percent in 2009. A violet Hanging Heart sold for US$11 million in a private sale. However prices for the artist's earlier Luxury and Degradation series appear to be holding up. The Economist reported that Thomas H. Lee, a private-equity investor, sold Jim Beam J.B. Turner Train (1986) in a package deal brokered by Giraud Pissarro Segalot for more than US$15 million. In 2012, Tulips (1995-2004) brought a record auction price for Koons at Christie's, selling to a telephone bidder for US$33.6 million, well above its high US$25 million estimate. At Christie's in 2015, the oil on canvas Triple Elvis (2009) set a world auction record for a painting by the artist, realizing $8,565,000, over $5 million more than the previous high.
    In July 2008, his 11-foot (3.3 meter) Balloon Flower (Magenta) (1995–2000) from the collection of Howard and Cindy Rachofsky also sold at Christie's London for an auction record of US$25.7 million.
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    He was given the 2008 Wollaston Award from the Royal Academy of Arts in London.
    More Details Hide Details In 2013 he received the U.S. State Department's Medal of Arts. Many of Koons's works have been sold at auctions and privately. His auction records have primarily been achieved by his sculptures (especially those from his Celebration series), whereas his paintings are less popular. In 2001, one of his three Michael Jackson and Bubbles porcelain sculptures sold for US$5.6 million. On November 14, 2007, Hanging Heart (Magenta/Gold) from the collection of Adam Lindemann, one of five in different colors, sold at Sotheby's New York for US$23.6 million becoming, at the time, the most expensive piece by a living artist ever auctioned. It was bought by the Gagosian Gallery in New York, which the previous day had purchased another Koons sculpture, Diamond (Blue), for US$11.8 million from Christie's London. Gagosian appears to have bought both Celebration series works on behalf of Ukrainian steel oligarch Victor Pinchuk.
    The May 31 - September 21, 2008 Koons retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, which was widely publicized in the press, broke the museum's attendance record with 86,584 visitors.
    More Details Hide Details The exhibition included numerous works from the MCA collection, along with recent paintings and sculptures by the artist. The retrospective exhibition reflects the MCA's commitment to Koons's work as it presented the artist's first American survey in 1988. For the final exhibition in its Marcel Breuer building, the Whitney Museum is planning to present a Koons retrospective in collaboration with the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and the Centre Pompidou, Paris. In July 2009, Koons had his first major solo show in London, at the Serpentine Gallery. Entitled Jeff Koons: Popeye Series, the exhibit included cast aluminum models of children's pool toys and "dense, realist paintings of Popeye holding his can of spinach or smoking his pipe, a red lobster looming over his head". In May 2012, Koons had his first major solo show in Switzerland, at the Beyeler Museum in Basel, entitled Jeff Koons. Shown are works from three series: The New,Banality and Celebration as well as the flowered sculpture Split-Rocker.
    Considered as his first retrospective in France, the 2008 exhibition of 17 Koons sculptures at the Château de Versailles also marked the first ambitious display of a contemporary American artist organized by the château.
    More Details Hide Details The New York Times reported that “several dozen people demonstrated outside the palace gates” in a protest arranged by a little-known, right-wing group dedicated to French artistic purity. It was also criticized that ninety percent of the US$2.8 million in financing for the exhibition came from private patrons, mainly François Pinault.
    From February 15 to March 6, 2008, Koons donated a private tour of his studio to the Hereditary Disease Foundation for auction on Charitybuzz.
    More Details Hide Details From his limited-edition 2010 Tulip designs for Kiehls Crème de Corps, a portion of the proceeds went to the Koons Family Institute, an initiative of the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children. Since his relationship with the International Centre began, Koons has given over US$4.3 million to the Institute that bears his family's name. Since a 1980 window installation at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, Koons' work has been widely exhibited internationally in solo and group exhibitions. In 1986, he appeared in a group show with Peter Halley, Ashley Bickerton, Ross Minoru Laing and Meyer Vaisman at Sonnabend Gallery in New York. In 1997, the parisian Galerie Jerome de Noirmont organized his first solo show in Europe. His Made in Heaven series was first shown at the Venice Biennale in 1990. As a young artist, Koons was included in many exhibitions curated by Richard Milazzo including The New Capital at White Columns in 1984, Paravision at Postmasters Gallery in 1985, Cult and Decorum at Tibor De Nagy Gallery in 1986, Time After Time at Diane Brown Gallery in 1986, Spiritual America at CEPA in 1986, and Art at the End of the Social at The Rooseum, Malmö, Sweden in 1988. These exhibitions would be alongside other notable artists such as Ross Bleckner, Joel Otterson, and Kevin Larmon.
    He had a minor role in the 2008 film Milk playing state assemblyman Art Agnos.
    More Details Hide Details In September 2012, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo gave Koons the task of helping to review the designs for a new Tappan Zee Bridge. Koons acted as curator of an Ed Paschke exhibition at Gagosian Gallery, New York, in 2009. In 2010 he curated an exhibition of works from the private collection of Greek billionaire Dakis Joannou at the New Museum in New York City. The exhibition, Skin Fruit: Selections from the Dakis Joannou Collection, generated debate concerning cronyism within the art world as Koons is heavily collected by Joannou and had previously designed the exterior of Joannou's yacht Guilty. Koons was the artist named to design the seventeenth in the series of BMW "Art Cars." His artwork was applied to a race-spec E92 BMW M3, and revealed to the public at The Pompidou Centre in Paris on 2 June 2010. Backed by BMW Motorsport, the car then competed at the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans in France.
  • 2006
    Age 51
    In 2006, Koons appeared on Artstar, an unscripted television series set in the New York art world.
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  • FORTIES
  • 2005
    Age 50
    In 2005, he was elected as a Fellow to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
    More Details Hide Details Koons has been sued several times for copyright infringement over his use of pre-existing images, the original works of others, in his work. In Rogers v. Koons, 960 F.2d 301 (2d Cir. 1992), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld a judgment against him for his use of a photograph of puppies as the basis for a sculpture, String of Puppies. Koons also lost lawsuits in United Features Syndicate, Inc. v. Koons, 817 F. Supp. 370 (S.D.N.Y. 1993), and Campbell v. Koons, No. 91 Civ. 6055, 1993 WL 97381 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 1, 1993). More recently, he won one lawsuit, Blanch v. Koons, No. 03 Civ. 8026 (LLS), S.D.N.Y., Nov. 1 2005 (slip op.), affirmed by the Second Circuit in October 2006, brought over his use of a photographic advertisement as source material for legs and feet in a painting, Niagara (2000). The court ruled that Koons had sufficiently transformed the original advertisement so as to qualify as a fair use of the original image.
  • 2000
    Age 45
    In 2000, Koons designed Split-Rocker, his second floral sculpture made of stainless steel, soil, geotextile fabric, and an internal irrigation system, which was first shown at the Palais des Papes in Avignon, France.
    More Details Hide Details Like Puppy, it is covered with around 27,000 live flowers, including petunias, begonias, impatiens, geraniums and marigolds. Weighing 150 tons and soaring over 37 feet high, Split-Rocker is composed of two halves: one based on a toy pony of one of Koons's sons, the other based on a toy dinosaur. Together, they form the head of a giant child's rocker. Koons produced just two editions of the sculpture.
  • 1999
    Age 44
    In 1999, Koons commissioned a song about himself on Momus's album Stars Forever.
    More Details Hide Details A drawing similar to his Tulip Balloons was placed on the front page of the Internet search engine Google. The drawing greeted all who visited Google's main page on April 30, 2008, and May 1, 2008.
    Commissioned by the Deutsche Guggenheim in 1999, Koons began a new series, Easyfun, comprising paintings and wall-mounted sculptures.
    More Details Hide Details In 2001, Koons undertook a series of paintings, Easyfun-Ethereal, using a collage approach that combined bikinis, food, and landscapes painted under his supervision by assistants. For the season 2007/2008 in the Vienna State Opera Jeff Koons designed the large-scale picture (176 sqm) Geisha as part of the exhibition series "Safety Curtain", conceived by museum in progress. Koons worked with American pop performer Lady Gaga on her 2013 studio album Artpop, including the creation of its cover artwork featuring a sculpture he made of Lady Gaga.
    In 1999, his 1988 "Pink Panther" sculpture sold at auction for US$1.8 million, and he returned to the Sonnabend gallery.
    More Details Hide Details Well aware of Koons's bottomless needs and demands, Ileana Sonnabend and Antonio Homem, her gallery director and adopted son, nevertheless welcomed him back; in all likelihood they sensed (correctly, it turned out) that he was poised for a glorious second act—something that only he, among his generation of overpublicized artists, has so far managed to pull off. Koons, however, no longer confines himself to a single gallery. Larry Gagosian, the colossus of New York dealers, agreed to finance the completion of all the unfinished "Celebration" work, in exchange for exclusive rights to sell it. In 2006, Koons presented Hanging Heart, a 9 feet tall highly polished, steel heart, one of a series of five differently colored examples, part of his Celebration series. Large sculptures from that series were exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 2008. Later additions to the series include Balloon Swan (2004–2011), an 11.5-foot (3.5-metre), stainless-steel bird, Balloon Rabbit (2005–2010), and Balloon Monkey, all for which children's party favors are reconceived as mesmerizing monumental forms.
  • 1998
    Age 43
    The battle ensued with the award of sole custody to Koons by the U.S. court in 1998, which had also dissolved the marriage.
    More Details Hide Details However, he lost custody when the case went to Italy's Supreme Court.
  • 1996
    Age 41
    Koons was pushing to finish the series in time for a 1996 exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, but the show was ultimately canceled because of production delays and cost overruns.
    More Details Hide Details When "Celebration" funding ran out, the staff was laid off, leaving a skeleton crew of two: Gary McCraw, Koons's studio manager, who had been with him since 1990, and Justine Wheeler, an artist from South Africa, who had arrived in 1995 and eventually took charge of the sculpture operation. The artist convinced his primary collectors Dakis Joannou, Peter Brant, and Eli Broad, along with dealers Jeffrey Deitch, Anthony d'Offay, and Max Hetzler, to invest heavily in the costly fabrication of the Celebration series at Arnold, a Frankfurt-based company. The dealers funded the project in part by selling works to collectors before they were fabricated.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1995
    Age 40
    Koons is now married to Justine Wheeler, an artist and former employee who began working for Koons' studio in 1995.
    More Details Hide Details The couple have six children. The family currently lives on several floors of an Upper East Side townhouse.
    Koons finally started to work on Balloon Flower in 1995.
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  • 1994
    Age 39
    As highlighted by articles over the years, including a Wall Street Journal article entitled "Pooling Resources to Fight Child Abuse and Abduction", the issue of child abduction is personal to Koons. Following the end of his marriage to Hungarian-born Italian porn actress Staller in 1994, as she wanted to continue to perform as a porn actress and Koons wanted them to be monogamous, Staller, in violation of a US court order, left with their then-two-year-old son, Ludwig and took the child to Italy.
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  • 1992
    Age 37
    Koons was not among the 44 American artists selected to exhibit his work in Documenta 9 in 1992, but was commissioned by three art dealers to create a piece for nearby Arolsen Castle in Bad Arolsen, Germany.
    More Details Hide Details The result was Puppy, a tall topiary sculpture of a West Highland White Terrier puppy, executed in a variety of flowers (including Marigolds, Begonias, Impatiens, Petunias, and Lobelias) on a transparent color-coated chrome stainless steel substructure. In 1995, in a co-venture between Museum of Contemporary Art, Kaldor Public Art Projects and Sydney Festival, the sculpture was dismantled and re-erected at the Museum of Contemporary Art on Sydney Harbour on a new, more permanent, stainless steel armature with an internal irrigation system. While the Arolsen Puppy had 20,000 plants, the Sydney version held around 60,000. The piece was purchased in 1997 by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and installed on the terrace outside the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. Before the dedication at the museum, an Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) trio disguised as gardeners attempted to plant explosive-filled flowerpots near the sculpture, but was foiled by Basque police officer Jose María Aguirre, who then was shot dead by ETA members. Currently the square in which the statue is placed bears the name of Aguirre. In the summer of 2000, the statue traveled to New York City for a temporary exhibition at Rockefeller Center.
  • 1991
    Age 36
    In 1991, he married Hungarian-born naturalized-Italian pornography star Cicciolina (Ilona Staller) who for five years (1987–92) pursued an alternate career as a member of the Italian Parliament.
    More Details Hide Details After seeing her picture in two European magazines, he had flown to Rome, watched her perform, and gone backstage to suggest that they collaborate on what he then thought would be a movie. She agreed. A series of strenuous photographic sessions became the basis for the "Made in Heaven" paintings and sculptures, in various media. The movie never got made, but Koons and Staller fell in love. He courted her through an interpreter—she spoke very little English, and Koons, who spoke about four words of Italian, kept trying to communicate directly by speaking English with an Italian accent. The interpreter had to be let go, because she fell in love with Koons. He proposed to Staller in Venice that spring, and they were married a year later. While maintaining a home in Manhattan, Koons and Staller lived in Munich. In 1992, they had a son, Ludwig. The marriage ended soon afterward amid allegations that Koons had subjected Staller to physical and emotional abuse. Jeffrey Deitch, a close friend who became Koons's dealer after Sonnabend, couldn't understand the marriage to Staller. Koons himself says that Ileana Sonnabend and his father had warned him against it, fearing the worst. "Jeff had confused fantasy with reality", Deitch said. "It was as though he felt the 'Made in Heaven' work wouldn't be authentic unless they were married. It was a moral issue for him."
  • 1989
    Age 34
    In 1989 the Whitney Museum and its guest curator Marvin Heiferman asked Koons to make an artwork about the media on a billboard for the show "Image World: Art and Media Culture".
    More Details Hide Details Koons employed his then wife Ilona Staller ("Cicciolina") as a model in the shoot that formed the basis of the resulting work for the Whitney, Made in Heaven (1990–91). Including works with such titles as Dirty Ejaculation and Ilonaʼs Asshole, the series of enormous grainy photographs printed on canvas, glassworks, and sculptures portrayed Koons and Staller in highly explicit sexual positions and created considerable controversy. The paintings of the series reference art from the Baroque and Rococo periods—among others, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Jean-Honoré Fragonard and François Boucher—and also draw upon the breakthroughs of early modern painters as Gustave Courbet and Édouard Manet. The series was first shown at the 1990 Venice Biennale. Koons reportedly destroyed much of the work when Staller took their son Ludwig with her to Italy. In celebration of Made in Heavens 20th anniversary, Luxembourg & Dayan chose to present a redux edition of the series. The Whitney Museum also exhibited several of the photographs on canvas in their 2014 retrospective.
  • 1988
    Age 33
    Anticipating a less than generous critical response to his 1988 Banality series exhibition, with all of his new objects made in an edition of three, allowing for simultaneous, identical shows at galleries in New York, Cologne, and Chicago, Koons devised the Art Magazine Ads series (1988–89).
    More Details Hide Details Placed in Artforum, Art in America, Flash Art, and Art News, the ads were designed as promotions for his own gallery exhibitions. Koons also issued Signature Plate, an edition for Parkett magazine, with a photographic decal in colors on a porcelain plate with gold-plated rim. Arts journalist Arifa Akbar reported for The Independent that in "an era when artists were not regarded as 'stars', Koons went to great lengths to cultivate his public persona by employing an image consultant". Featuring photographs by Matt Chedgey, Koons placed "advertisements in international art magazines of himself surrounded by the trappings of success" and gave interviews "referring to himself in the third person”.
  • 1986
    Age 31
    First shown in Koons' eponymous exhibitions at the short-lived International With Monument Gallery, New York, and at Daniel Weinberg Gallery, Los Angeles, in 1986, the Luxury and Degradation series is a group of works thematically centered on alcohol.
    More Details Hide Details This group included a stainless steel travel cocktail cabinet, a Baccarat crystal decanter and other hand-made renderings of alcohol-related paraphernalia, as well as reprinted and framed ads for drinks such as Gordon's Gin ("I Could Go for Something Gordon's"), Hennessy ("Hennessy, The Civilized Way to Lay Down the Law"), Bacardi ("Aquí... el gran sabor del ron Bacardi"), Dewars ("The Empire State of Scotch"), Martell ("I Assume You Drink Martell") and Frangelico ("Stay in Tonight" and "Find a Quiet Table") in seductively intensified colors on canvas Koons appropriated these advertisements and revalued them by recontextualizing them into artworks. They "deliver a critique of traditional advertising that supports Baudrillard's censorious view of the obscene promiscuity of consumer signs". Another work, Jim Beam - J.B. Turner Engine (1986) is based on a commemorative, collectible in bottle in the form of a locomotive that was created by Jim Beam; however, Koons appropriated this model and had it cast in gleaming stainless-steel. The train model cast in steel titled Jim Beam - Baggage Car (1986) even contains Jim Beam bourbon. With the Luxury and Degradation series Koons interfered into the realms of the social. He created an artificial and gleaming surface which represented a proletarian luxury. It was interpreted as seduction by simulation because it was faked luxury. Being the producer of this deception brought him to a kind of leadership, as he commented himself.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1980
    Age 25
    Koons first exhibited these pieces in the window of the New Museum in New York in 1980.
    More Details Hide Details He chose a limited combination of vacuum cleaners and arranged them in cabinets accordingly, juxtaposing the verticality of the upright cleaners with the squat cylinders of the "Shelton Wet/Dry drum" cleaners. At the museum, the machines were displayed as if in a showroom, and oriented around a central red fluorescent lightbox with just the words "The New" written on it as if it were announcing some new concept or marketing brand. Another example for Koon's early work is The Equilibrium Series (1985), consisting of one to three basketballs floating in distilled water, a project the artist had researched with the help of Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman. The Total Equilibrium Tanks are completely filled with distilled water and a small amount of ordinary salt, to assist the hollow balls in remaining suspended in the centre of the liquid. In a second version, the 50/50 Tanks, only half the tank is filled with distilled water, with the result that the balls float half in and half out of the water. In addition, Koons conceived and fabricated five unique works for the Encased series (1983-1993/98), sculptures consisting of stacked sporting balls with their original cardboard packaging in glass display case.
  • 1977
    Age 22
    After college, Koons moved to New York in 1977 and worked at the membership desk of the Museum of Modern Art while establishing himself as an artist.
    More Details Hide Details During this time, he dyed his hair red and would often cultivate a pencil mustache, after Salvador Dalí. In 1980, he got licensed to sell mutual funds and stocks and began working as a Wall Street commodities broker at First Investors Corporation. After a summer with his parents in Sarasota, Florida (Koons took on a brief job there as a political canvasser), he returned to New York and found a new career as a commodities broker, first at Clayton Brokerage Company and then at Smith Barney. Jeff Koons rose to prominence in the mid-1980s as part of a generation of artists who explored the meaning of art in a media-saturated era. He gained recognition in the 1980s and subsequently set up a factory-like studio in a SoHo loft on the corner of Houston Street and Broadway in New York. It was staffed with over 30 assistants, each assigned to a different aspect of producing his work - in a similar mode as Andy Warhol's Factory (notable because all of his work is produced using a method known as art fabrication). Today, he has a factory near the old Hudson rail yards in Chelsea, working with 90 to 120 regular assistants. Koons developed a color-by-numbers system, so that each of his assistants could execute his canvases and sculptures as if they had been done "by a single hand". "I think art takes you outside yourself, takes you past yourself.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1968
    Age 13
    The price topped Koons's previous record of US$33.7 million and the record for the most expensive living artist, held by Gerhard Richter, whose 1968 painting, Domplatz, Mailand, sold for US$37.1 million at Sotheby's on May 14, 2013.
    More Details Hide Details Balloon Dog (Orange) was one of the first of the Balloon Dogs to be fabricated, and had been acquired by Greenwich collector Peter Brant in the late 1990s. Critics are sharply divided in their views of Koons. Some view his work as pioneering and of major art-historical importance. Others dismiss his work as kitsch, crass, and based on cynical self-merchandising. Koons has stated that there are no hidden meanings in his works, nor any critiques. Koons was born in York, Pennsylvania, to Henry and Gloria Koons. His father was a furniture dealer and interior decorator; his mother was a seamstress. As a child he went door to door after school selling gift-wrapping paper and candy to earn pocket money. As a teenager he revered Salvador Dalí so much that he visited him at the St. Regis Hotel in New York City.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1955
    Age 0
    Born on January 21, 1955.
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