Jeff Koons

born 1955

Jeff Koons, ‘Made in Heaven’ 1989
Made in Heaven 1989
© Jeff Koons
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Biography

Jeffrey L. Koons (; born January 21, 1955) is an American artist recognized for his work dealing with popular culture and his sculptures depicting everyday objects, including balloon animals – produced in stainless steel with mirror-finish surfaces. He lives and works in both New York City and his hometown of York, Pennsylvania. His works have sold for substantial sums, including at least two record auction prices for a work by a living artist, including $91.1 million with fees in May 2019, for his Rabbit, purchased by Robert E. Mnuchin according to a New York Times article.

On November 12, 2013, Koons' Balloon Dog (Orange) sold at Christie's Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale in New York City for US$58.4 million, above its high US$55 million estimate, becoming the most expensive work by a living artist sold at auction. The price topped Koons' 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. Balloon Dog (Orange) was one of the first of his Balloon Dog works to be fabricated, and had been acquired by Greenwich collector Peter Brant in the late 1990s. Each of Koons Ballon Dog measure 307.3 × 363.2 × 114.3 cm. and is made of mirror-polished stainless steel and finished with a translucent coating of either blue, magenta, orange, red, or yellow.

In May 2019, another of his sculptures, Rabbit (1986), was auctioned for $91.1 million, again breaking the auction record for an artwork by a living artist.

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.

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