Born in York, Pennsylvania to Henry and Gloria Koons. His sister, Karen, is three years older. His father owned an interior decoration business. Koons learns from him his aesthetic sense.
His parents encourage his creative streak and sign him up for drawing lessons.
Koons paints copies of Old Masters, which his father exhibits in the windows of his interior decoration store and sells to his customers.
Koons studies at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, where he becomes interested in Byzantine painting and American folk art. He paints Surrealist-inspired scenes and landscapes. After calling Salvador Dalí at the St. Regis Hotel, Koons spends a day with him in New York.
Studies at the School of Art Institute of Chicago, where Koons is taught by artists Jim Nutt and Ed Paschke; he becomes close friends with Paschke.
ReceiveshisBachelorofArtsfromMICA.MovestoNewYork,wherehemixeswiththe downtown Manhattan music scene (Patti Smith, Talking Heads).
Artists David Salle and Julian Schnabel introduce Koons to gallery owner Mary Boone, who takes an interest in his work. In his apartment on East 4th Street, he creates sculptures with inflatables and mirrors.
Works at the Membership Desk at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) recruiting new members and sponsors.