Jeff Koons was born in 1955 in York, Pennsylvania. He received his B.F.A. at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Since his emergence in the 1980s Jeff Koons has blended the concerns and methods of Pop, Conceptual, and appropriation art with craft-making and popular culture to create his own unique iconography, often controversial and always engaging. His work explores contemporary obsessions with sex and desire; race and gender; and celebrity, media, commerce, and fame. A self-proclaimed "idea man," Koons hires artisans and technicians to make the actual works. For him, the hand of the artist is not the important issue: "Art is really just communication of something and the more archetypal it is, the more communicative it is." Jeff Koons' artworks rarely inspire moderate responses, and this is one signal of the importance of his achievement. Focusing on some of the most unexpected objects as models for his work, Koons' works eschew typical standards of "good taste" in art and zero in rather precisely on the vulnerabilities of hierarchies and value systems. As critic Christopher Knight has written "He turns the traditional cliché of the work of art inside out: Rather than embodying a spiritual or expressive essence of a highly individuated artist, art here is composed from a distinctly American set of conventional middle-class values."