Conceptual artist Jeff Koons, one of the most well-known artists in the world today, will be a guest speaker at 8 p.m. Dec, 10, as part of the UNLV art department's Visiting Artist Program, coordinated by art professor Robert Wysocki. The lecture will be held in the Judy Bayley Theatre on the UNLV campus and is free and open to the public.
Since the late 1970s, when he began showing inflatable plastic toys in art galleries, Jeff Koons has been relentlessly provocative in his artistic endeavors. Working in the legacy of Marcel Duchamp, who in 1917 titled an ordinary urinal Fountain and submitted it to a museum exhibition, Koons has been recontextualizing and recreating everyday objects and images that reflect various aspects of public consumerism - from road-stop souvenirs and vacuum cleaners to the Pink Panther, hard liquor, and art.
Koons also is known for his public sculptures, such as Puppy, a floral sculpture shown at Rockefeller Center in the summer of 2000; Balloon Flower, installed in Potsdamer Platz in Berlin as part of Daimler Chrysler's permanent collection; and Split-Rocker, a floral sculpture exhibited at the Papal Palace in Avignon, France.
Koons has lectured at many universities and institutions, including Harvard, Yale, Columbia, New York University, the Royal Academy of Arts in London, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, and the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC.
Koons also has received several awards and honors in recognition of his cultural achievements. For educating children through the visual arts, he received the 1999 "Art Start for Children Award" given by Learning Through Art/The Guggenheim Museum Children's Program. For his cultural contribution, Koons received the BZ Cultural Award 2000 from the city of Berlin, Germany. In 2001, President Jacques Chirac of France appointed Koons to the rank of Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor for his ongoing contributions in tightening the cultural links between France and the U.S. Most recently, Koons received the 2002 Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture, a Doctor of Fine Arts, Honoris Causa, from The Corcoran in Washington, DC, and the Global Vision Award from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Koons was born in York, Pennsylvania in 1955. He received a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore in 1976 and also attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago on a visiting student program. Koons lives and works in New York City.