I try to be a truthful artist and I try to show a level of courage. I enjoy that. I’m a messenger – Jeff Koons
A record-breaking artist: who is Jeff Koons?
Jeffrey Koons – known also as Jeff Koons – was born in 1955 in Pennsylvania. Today he is considered an icon of our time and one of the richest artists in the world: with more than 318K followers on Instagram, he is a real star of contemporary art.
But, let’s take a step back.
In the seventies, after his studies at School of Art Institute of Chicago and Baltimore College of Art, Jeff moves to New York where he begins to create his first artworks. At the same time, he works as a broker at Wall Street – an experience that, according to him, was decisive for his success. After this period, Jeff Koons gets back to focus on his artistic career, becoming a young artist of readymade art.
Jeff Koons with one of his sculptures
A life that is a work of art
Between the eighties and nineties, Jeff continues his artistic research by focusing on contemporary society and its consumption through the creation of art installations such as New and Equilibrium. Their purpose is to enhance the aesthetic dimension of everyday objects – such as vacuum cleaners and basketballs – in order to make them attractive to the consumer.
Koons’ purpose is to communicate with the masses by using a visual vocabulary extrapolated from commercial advertising and the entertainment industry, pushing the border between artistic language and popular culture to the extreme limit.
This mix between reality and fiction is fully realized in the nineties, when, after the marriage with the pornstar llona Staller (Cicciolina), with Made in Heaven, a complex art installation that explores the sexual nature of his relationship with his wife, merging his life with his artistic activity.
Also during the 90s, Koons creates Celebration which, through monumental sculptures of toys and other objects typical of birthday parties, wants to celebrate childhood, hope and innocence. One of the artworks of this series is undoubtedly the giant stainless-steel dog Balloon Dog (Orange) – which in 2013 was sold for $ 58.4 million, becoming the second most expensive artwork in the world by a living artist.
The sculpture Balloon Dog (Orange) by Jeff Koons
Becoming famous for his ability to represent popular culture and the American way of life, Jeff continues his career with the series: Hulk Elvis (2005 – 2006) – where he puts at the center of his paintings an inflatable toy with the features of the green comic book giant – and Antiquity (2009 – 2013), a true reproduction of ancient statues.
His unstoppable creativity (his assistants working in the factory he founded are over 135), led him to collaborate with famous brands such as Dom Pérignon, BMW, Louis Vuitton, to name a few, and the likes of Lady Gaga.
For the singer, Koons has created the cover of the album ARTPOP, in which a wax sculpture with the appearance of Gaga hides the breasts with hands and the private parts with a blue sphere (one of the most famous symbols of Koons’ art), while a mix of Botticelli’s Venus and Bernini’s Apollo and Daphne form the background.
The sculpture Balloon Venus by Jeff Koons for the prestigious brand Dom Pérignon