Koons was born in Pennsylvania. Before becoming an artist he worked as a successful commodities broker on Wall Street. In Koons's early work he displayed everyday items such as vacuum cleaners and basketballs in glass cases, making them both aesthetic objects and social icons. In so doing, the artist raises questions of consumerism and taste. He has also exhibited kitsch items made on an enlarged scale from materials such as porcelain and polychromed wood. Both Koons himself and the everyday items in his work become commodities. The artist himself featured in a number of sexually explicit photographs and sculptures.