Born 1955, York, Pennsylvania
Studied at the Maryland College of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago
Lives and works in New York, New York
Jeff Koons emerged in the 1980s as an innovative sculptor of exquisitely crafted objects which quickly became icons of art history, the primary example of which is Rabbit, 1986, in the Eli and Edythe L. Broad Collection. Rabbit is an icon of art in the 1980s. Cast in highly polished stainless steel from an inflatable Easter bunny novelty, the sculpture's reflective surfaces have the eerie effect of including the viewer in its cool reflection at any angle at which it may be approached.
The Broad Collections of Koons works are unrivaled globally and hold representative work from each stage of his diverse and ever changing career. In its celebration of consumer goods and its questioning of the notion of “good taste,” Koons’ art has been critically received as an ironic comment on the decadence of the 1980s and of capitalist culture. Koons himself, however, posits a less cynical view, citing his relationship to his young son, transcendence, and the eternal resonance of beauty as motivating factors for his art.
In his "Banality” series, Koons created sculptures of dimensions and details monstrous and absurd. These works, like The Broad Art Foundation’s Michael Jackson and Bubbles , 1988, are both compelling and disturbing in their size and seductive porcelain surfaces. The dead white of Jackson's skin, his glamorous pose with Bubbles in matching clothing invites a chilling range of questions about celebrity and image making.
Celebration , an ongoing Koons series of sixteen paintings and twenty sculptures, rejoices in the rituals and images surrounding birthdays, holidays, and other party occasions. The Foundation’s Tulips , 1995-2006 is among the grandest and most technically complex objects in the series, providing a perfect illusion of balloon flowers constructed on seamless and polished stainless steel. The work is considered a successor to Koons’ inflatable works of the late 1970s.
Having previously purchased the painting Party Hat, 1995-97, the Foundation extended their holdings of Koons’ paintings with the purchase of Hulk Elvis , 2007. In order to visualize and represent the desire that often accompanies the advertising of consumer products, Koons culls images from his giant collection of photographs and advertising imagery. The multiple sources are then collaged into conceptual schematics that are subsequently painted in a super-realistic, glossy fashion. While often concealed and veiled by toys and lush color, Koons takes Elvis Presley as his primary inspiration. Also, the influential Art critic Jonathon Rosenblum described Koons’ paintings as a “Trademark marriage of computerized precision and free-floating fantasy.”