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New Hoover Convertibles, Green, Red, Brown, New Hoover Deluxe Shampoo
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About the item

Jeff Koons has been making art for over 25 years, and since breaking onto the “scene” in the early 1980s Koons has been one of the most, if not THE most debated artist of his generation.  Making art that provokes both theoretically and aesthetically, no other artist has generated more heat, or critical debate. His messages are sometimes difficult to decipher, coded in the banal, encased in paradox, or too obvious to accept.  It is perhaps only now, after almost a quarter of a century, that the world is ready to accept and truly applaud the mastery of Koons’ diverse and challenging body of work.\nWhether drawn, painted, sculpted in porcelain or glass, cast in stainless steel and bronze, carved in wood or encased in Plexiglas, Jeff Koons’ work has consistently, and impossibly, surpassed accepted codes of conduct and execution as set by the tradition of art history. Encased Hoovers, floating Basketballs, bronze Lifeboats and Aqualungs that make survival impossible, stainless steel Rabbits, larger-than-life statues of Michael Jackson, flower puppies the size of buildings, silkscreened and sculpted pornographic imagery – this is the work of Jeff Koons, and we are only just touching the tip of the proverbial iceberg.\nIn 1979 Koons began to work on the Pre New, appliance assimilations constructed of household devices which he affixed to an upright support of fluorescent light bulbs. One year later in 1980, the artist started working on a series of works called The New, consisting of works that liberated the metaphoric value of mass-produced objects by “re-framing” them and displaying them out of context.  The familiarity of this concept takes root in the notion of the ready-made as espoused by Marcel Duchamp.  By placing industrial vacuum cleaners inside Plexiglas display cases, brilliantly illuminated by fluorescent lights, Koons forces the viewer to regard them as sculptural rather than functional objects. With the present work, New Hoover Convertibles, Green, Red, Brown, New Hoover Deluxe Shampoo Polishers Yellow, Brown Doubledecker, one might go even further and make note of the work’s minimalist construction.  Encasing the Hoovers in a pristine Plexiglas box, the “container” is as much a part of the work formally, as that which is contained. The vacuum cleaner is transformed from an everyday domestic tool to a minimal and conceptual construction, an object of art to be viewed and considered formally, not functionally. Not unlike Andy Warhol’s re-appropriation of popular commercial items such as soup cans and Brillo-pads, Koons’ pointed disruption of the familiar aims to bring new meaning, new life.\nKoons’ debut solo exhibition in the United States was a window installation at the New Museum in downtown Manhattan, titled The New in which three vacuum cleaner objects were displayed. By showing an installation of vacuum cleaners as aesthetic objects in a museum context that looks like a shop window, Koons opened the very first page of a “lifelong journal with the nexus and polarity of high and low paradigms”. The reactions to the first show seems to have been rather mixed and the public seems to have been more confused than anything else. Apparently the museum guards of the New Museum were constantly turning away people who walked in the “store front” to buy an actual vacuum. In retrospect this story alone proves that Koons was on to something – something nobody has seen before – something worth calling “The New”.\nA quick guide to analyze and interpret the New Hoover Convertibles, Green, Red Brown, New Hoover Deluxe Shampoo Polishers Yellow, Brown Doubledecker is the art historical trail from Marcel Duchamp to Andy Warhol to Jeff Koons. Formalistically the exterior construction of the Hoover is clearly influenced by the pure forms and materials of the Minimalist artist. Clean lines, Plexiglas boxes stacked on top of each other, and the use of fluorescent lights immediately brings to mind Donald Judd and Dan Flavin. The art-historical and formalistic approach, as well as the combination of Pop Art and Minimal Art in a very unique “new” way alone legitimizes the present work as a very important work of art, but there are other to consider and interpret. Koons addresses major social issues such as class and gender roles as well as consumerism; while at the same time expressing very personal concerns about confinement, life, death, and sexuality. The artist communicates through a heightened sense of symbolism: “I chose the vacuum cleaner because of its anthropomorphic qualities. It is a breathing machine. It also displays both male and female sexuality. It has orifices and phallic attachments. I have always tried to create work which does not alienate any part of my audience.”  Koons attaches a profusion of meaning to the things he sees and therefore to the objects he presents as art.   But no matter how shocking or intricately layered with symbolic references, Koons’ disruption of the “norm” always leaves a thread for us to grab onto, pulling us closer into his web of intellectual but witty commentary and artful mastery which make him the most relevant artist of our time.
US
NY, US
US

medium

Three vacuum cleaners, two shampoo polishers, Plexiglas, and fluorescent lights

creator

Jeff Koons

dimensions

83 x 54 x 28 in. 210.8 x 137.2 x 71.2 cm

exhibition

Los Angeles, Daniel Weinberg Gallery, The New: Encased Works, 1981-1986, December 1987 - January 1988

literature

Angelika Muthesius, ed., Jeff Koons, Cologne, 1992, cat. no. 22, p. 49, illustrated in color The Jeff Koons Handbook (with an introduction by Robert Rosenblum), New York, 1992, p. 151 Albig Jorg-Uwe, "Jeff Koons, ein Prophet der inneren Leere", Art, December 1992, p. 55, illustrated Exh. Cat., Berlin, Deutsche Guggenheim, Jeff Koons: Easyfun - Ethereal, 2000, cat. no. 11, p. 29, illustrated in color

provenance

Daniel Weinberg Gallery, Los Angeles Acquired by the present owner from the above in January 1990

creator_nationality_dates

B. 1955


*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.

*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.


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