Biography - Summary
Portrait of Jeff Koons by Chris Fanning, 2011

Photo by Chris Fanning, 2011

Jeff Koons was born in York, Pennsylvania in 1955. He studied at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He received a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 1976. Koons lives and works in New York City. 

Since his first solo exhibition in 1980, Koons’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 (June 27 - October 19, 2014), which traveled to the Centre Pompidou Paris (November 26, 2014 - April 27, 2015) and the Guggenheim Bilbao (June 9 - September 27, 2015). Recent exhibitions include Shine at Palazzo Strozzi in Florence; Jeff Koons: Lost in America at QM Gallery ALRIWAQ in Doha; and Jeff Koons: Apollo at the Slaughterhouse, a DESTE Foundation Project Space, in Hydra, Greece. Dugong, 2020-2022, was unveiled on November 1, 2023, along the Corniche in Al Masrah Park, Doha, Qatar.

Koons is widely known for his iconic sculptures Rabbit and Balloon Dog as well as the monumental floral sculpture Puppy (1992), shown at Rockefeller Center and permanently installed at the Guggenheim Bilbao. Another floral sculpture, Split-Rocker (2000), previously installed at the Papal Palace in Avignon, Château de Versailles, and Fondation Beyeler in Basel, was most recently on view at Rockefeller Center in 2014.

Jeff Koons has received numerous awards and honors in recognition of his cultural achievements. Notably, Koons received honorary degrees from The Corcoran, Washington, D.C. in 2002; the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois in 2008; and from York College of Pennsylvania, York, Pennsylvania on 2017. Koons also received the Governor’s Awards for the Arts “Distinguished Arts Award” from the Pennsylvania Council on the Art; President Jacques Chirac promoted Koons to Officier de la Legion d’Honneur; Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton honored Koons with the State Department’s Medal of the Arts for his outstanding commitment to the Art in Embassies Program and international cultural exchange; and Consul General Ragini Gupta presented Koons the U.S. Consulate General’s Award for Cultural Diplomacy in Florence. In 2017, Koons was made the first Artist-in-Residence at Columbia University’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute and, also, made an Honorary Member of University of Oxford's Edgar Wind Society for Outstanding Contribution for Visual Culture. Koons has been a board member of The International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC) since 2002, and co-founded the Koons Family International Law and Policy Institute with ICMEC; for the purpose of combating global issues of child abduction and exploitation and to protect the world’s children.