Biography

Biography
Jeff Koons, 2012, Photo: Chris Fanning

Jeff Koons (b. 1955)


1955
Jeff Koons is born in York, Pennsylvania, where he spends his childhood.

1972-76 Studies art and design at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. In 1975 he spends an exchange year at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The following year he leaves Chicago for New York.

1977 Koons works at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, acquiring new museum members. Until 1979 he develops his first series of works, consisting of combined ready-mades in which inflatable figures are placed on and in front of mirrors.

1979 Begins to work with household appliances, which he affixes to fluorescent lamps for a series later titled Pre-New. Executes first work with a vacuum cleaner. Koons is employed as a broker on Wall Street in order to finance the production of his art.

1980 Koons installs his first show in the display window of the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, out of which he will develop the series The New.

1983 Sketches the first water tanks for the Equilibrium series.

1985 Koons has his first true one-person show, at the gallery International With Monument, New York.

1986 The series Luxury and Degradation and Statuary emerge, all of the sculptures of which consist of stainless chrome steel.

1987 Koons is invited to "Skulptur Projekte Münster" in Germany, and creates Kiepenkerl in stainless chrome steel.

1988 Koons's new series, Banality, is simultaneously shown in three distinguished galleries in Cologne, New York and Chicago. The porcelain and wood figures mystify the critics.

1991 The Made in Heaven series is shown in Cologne and New York. The works, showing the artist making love with Ilona Staller, alias Cicciolina, are largely panned by the critics. Koons and Staller marry.

1992 Koons creates the monumental floral sculpture Puppy in front of the castle in Bad Arolson near Kassel. Large museum retrospectives are held in Amsterdam, Stuttgart, San Francisco, and Minneapolis.

1993 Inspired by his little son, Ludwig Maximilian, Koons develops the extensive series Celebration, comprising colored chrome steel and polyethelene sculptures and paintings. Koons separates from Ilona Staller, and a protracted struggle for custody of their son begins.

1999 Koons begins a new series, Easyfun, comprising paintings and wall-mounted sculptures.

2000 Designs Split-Rocker, his second floral sculpture, which is first shown at the Palais des Papes in Avignon. He begins a new series of paintings, Easyfun-Ethereal.

2002 A new series of sculptures and paintings, Popeye, is commenced. Koons weds Justine Wheeler.

2004 Koons is honored with retrospectives in New York, Oslo and Helsinki.

2006 Begins working on a new series, Hulk Elvis.

2008 Large-scale exhibitions in Chicago, New York, Berlin, and in the Palace of Versailles, are devoted to Koons. He starts working on the new series Antiquity.

2012 The Fondation Beyeler stages the first exhibition of Koons’ work ever held in a Swiss museum, soon to be followed by a Koons exhibition in Frankfurt am Main.

Station