A timeline showcasing some of the big art and life events of the famous York County native artist Jeff Koons. Sean Heisey
There's no question Jeff Koons is a point of pride for York County.
The artist was born in York, graduated from Dover Area High School and took lessons from a York art teacher before becoming a wildly successful and internationally celebrated modern artist.
He’s best known for his giant balloon-animal sculptures, which have sold for substantial amounts, including one which holds the record for the most expensive work by a living artist sold at an auction.
But even after achieving global recognition and success, the 61-year-old still calls rural York County home.
During the summer, he lives on his grandfather’s old farm outside Red Lion with his second wife Justine and their six children, who range in age from 4 to 15. But if you hadn’t been told he lives nearby, you probably wouldn’t notice.
Koons lives a pretty private life, spending most of his spare time on his secluded farm. So it’s unusual to see him out and about around town.
But for the first time since he accepted the Distinguished Arts Award during the Governor’s Awards for the Arts in 2009, he’ll make a public appearance in York at Friday’s York Revolution game to help celebrate the team’s 10th anniversary season.
The first 1,500 fans at the game will receive a Jeff Koons bobblehead as part of the team’s Celebrate York series, according to the York Revolution website. This will be the 10th bobblehead giveaway this season.
“As we were assembling the Celebrate York series, we wanted a cross-section of Yorkers from different disciplines who were accomplished and celebrated in their fields,” York Revolution President Eric Menzer said. “Jeff was an obvious choice to represent the arts, and we are thrilled that he agreed to participate.”
Koons said he tries to make it out to a Revs game several times a season and is looking forward to returning to pick up his bobblehead. He’ll also throw out the first pitch.
“What an honor,” he said. “These are the things when they happen in life, they really kind of have a relevance.”
While he doesn’t display any of his own artwork in his house, Koons said he’ll proudly display this bobblehead on his desk.
“I think it’s always funny to see yourself in some type of caricature type of presentation, but I think they do a great job of creating these bobbleheads,” he said.
Aside from attending York Revolution games, Koons said he enjoys traveling the back roads of York County, admiring York’s 18th and 19th century architecture, learning about York’s history and watching the deer roam about his farm.
He’s always loved York, he said.
If that wasn’t clear before, it's definitely clear when he says he commutes back and forth to his New York studio every day of the summer by car or helicopter just so he and his family can wake up every morning in Red Lion.
They live in New York the remainder of the year, but make sure to visit York every weekend to escape the city life.
“I’m really proud of my heritage, and I’m very, very grateful for the opportunity I had to be raised in York,” he said. “Sometimes, people say, ‘Why do you think it is you’ve been able to have the success or perform in the art world the way you have,’ and it really comes down to the people.”
Since completing his traveling retrospective a few years ago, Koons said he’s now exercising the freedom he has as an artist.
While he’s not working on a specific project, he said he’s “always making new things.”
“My own artwork I create involves working with things that come from the world around us,” Koons said. “It comes from the experience of just enjoying the environment I’m in. I’m very comfortable in my environment in York.”
If you go
What: Jeff Koons Bobblehead Giveaway
When: 6:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 12
Where: PeoplesBank Park, 5 Brooks Robinson Way, York
More info: Visit www.yorkrevolution.com.