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Artist Jeff Koons to offer address at York College commencement on May 13

March 01, 2017
Jeff Koons, Commencement Speaker

Internationally recognized artist and York native Jeff Koons will present the address at York College’s May 13 commencement ceremony, which will begin at 10:15 a.m. on the campus mall. Tickets will be required for seating under the tent, where the ceremony will be held. A live video stream of commencement (www.ycp.edu/commencement) will begin at 10 a.m. 

Koons was born in York 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 is one of the world’s most influential artists, known for creating such icons as “Rabbit” and “Balloon Dog.” Working with everyday objects, his work revolves around themes of self-acceptance and transcendence.

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 – Oct. 19, 2014), which traveled to the Centre Pompidou Paris (Nov. 26, 2014 - April 27, 2015) and the Guggenheim Bilbao (June 9 – Sept. 27, 2015). Koons’s work was most recently presented at the inaugural exhibition of Almine Rech Gallery’s new London space (Oct 4. 2016 – Jan. 21, 2017).

Koons’s work is in numerous public collections, such as the Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.), the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, N.Y.), the Guggenheim Museum (New York, N.Y.), Los Angeles County Museum, The Broad Art Foundation (Santa Monica, Calif.), Hirshhorn Museum (Washington, D.C.), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Tate Gallery (London), Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam, the Netherlands), Museum Ludwig (Kцln, Germany), and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo.

Koons earned renown for his public sculptures, such 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, Chateau de Versailles, and Fondation Beyeler in Basel, was most recently on view at Rockefeller Center in 2014.

Koons has received numerous awards and honors in recognition of his cultural achievements. Notably, he received the Governor’s Awards for the Arts “Distinguished Arts Award” from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts; the “Golden Plate Award” from the Academy of Achievement; President Jacques Chirac promoted Koons to Officier de la Legion d’Honneur; and former 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. 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.

Koons last visited York College in 2002 when he presented an exhibit in the Brossman Gallery titled “Embrace Your Past.” In addition to the exhibit, he gave a talk to a packed audience about the influence York County has had on his art. In the spring of 2015, Koons welcomed senior fine art students and alumni of York College to his studio in New York for a private tour and discussion about his work.