Jeff Koons, From Kitsch to Rich

By Neon Staff | 2013/03/20 - 13:27:57


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Jeff Koons is one of the most renowned artists today. His reproductions of banal objects, such as Balloon Dog in stainless steel, are recognized worldwide and his pieces have sold for the highest price ever paid for a living artist, with a record of $33,682,500 for Tulips in a Christie's auction last November, in New York.

American born Koons was in love for the arts since he was a child. He was a diehard fan of Salvador Dalí and even grew a mustache to resemble the surrealist painter. He studied painting at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Maryland Institute College of Art and in the 1970's he started creating sculptures, which he gradually mastered. The Rabbit (1986) is one of his most famous works and he actually reinvented the piece in different sizes and forms throughout his career.

Koons moved on to the Banality series towards the end of the 1980's. He focused on sculptures and created three life size gold leaf statues of Michael Jackson and his pet Bubbles, one of which sold for 5.6 millions in a Sotheby's auction. Later he was commissioned by three art dealers to create a piece that would stand outside their gallery in Germany. He created Puppy, a sculpture in gigantic proportions, covered with a variety of flowers that was later purchased and reinstated on the terrace of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. One of his latest works is Celebration, a series of 20 large scale sculptures and paintings in which Balloon Dog, Sacred Heart and Tulips come in different vibrant colors. They were conceived in 1994, but due to their size some took almost a decade to complete.

His work has certainly divided critics. Some regard him as a pop art genius while others dismiss him as plain kitsch, but Koons has made it clear that his art is just what it is and doesn't contain any secret meanings. 
Sacred Heart by Jeff Koons
Sacred Heart, 1994-2007, MET Museum, New York, 2008
CC-BY/TheGirlsNY
Coloring Book by Jeff Koons
Coloring Book, 1997-2005, MET Museum, New York, 2008
CC-BY/Maurice King
Balloon Dog by Jeff Koons
Balloon Dog, 1994-2000, MET Museum, New York, 2008
CC-BY/Scott Dexter
Tulips by Jeff Koons
Tulips, 1995-2004, Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain, 2007
CC-BY/Dalbera
Puppy by Jeff Koons
Puppy, Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain, 1997
CC-BY/Noebse

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