High Banality

about Jeff Koons

Jeff Koons plays with ideas of taste, pleasure, celebrity, and commerce. He believes in advertisement and media completely: My art and my personal life are based in it. Working with seductive commercial materials — such as the high chromium stainless steel of his Balloon Dog sculptures or his vinyl Inflatables —, shifts of scale, and an elaborate studio system involving many technicians, Jeff turns banal objects into high art icons. His paintings and sculptures borrow widely from art-historical techniques and styles, although often seen as ironic or tongue-in-cheek, he insists his practice is earnest and optimistic.

“I’ve always loved Surrealism and Dada and Pop, so I just follow my interests and focus on them. When you do that, things become very metaphysical.

The Banality series that brought him fame in the 1980s included pseudo-Baroque sculptures of subjects like Michael Jackson with his pet ape, while his monumental topiaries, like the floral Puppy — 1992 —, reference 17th-century French garden design. Since his solo exhibition in 1980, Jeff’s work has been shown in major galleries and institutions throughout the world. His work was the subject of a major exhibition organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, Jeff Koons: A Retrospective, which traveled to the Centre Pompidou Paris and the Guggenheim Bilbao, from June, 2014 to September, 2015.

Born in York, Pennsylvania in 1955, Jeff studied at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Today he lives and works in New York City.


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