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New Hoover Convertibles
Jeff Koon was one of the most controversial artists of the post war time, his works were designed to provoke, shock, astonish, but at the same time, to inform, point out and communicate.1
His work called “New Hoover Convertibles” was created in 1981. The visually distinctive factors of this work are the three vacuum cleaners that were advanced for their time. The artist put them into a transparent container make of acryl and added fluorescent lights in the bottom so that the exhibits were properly lit.
By inserting the vacuum cleaners into the transparent box and adding fluorescent dramatic lighting the artist made the appliances look like very valuable trophies. This was done in order to communicate the public passion for consumption and the change of values in the society.
Koons pointed out that in the beginning of eighties household appliances were something people had to work hard to buy, they represented everyone’s big goal, they were the evidence of an important achievement.
The historic factors that influence Koon and inspired him to create this work of art was the rapid development of technologies and the social passion for consumption and the love for pristine newness.2
Besides, the way the three vacuum cleaners are arranged – in a straight line, makes it clear that the work of art symbolizes not only consumerism but capitalism dwelling in the supermarkets and putting the goods in geometrically correct rows, lines and forms.
His work represents the mass culture of the beginning of the eighties and the use of readymade goods presents the nature of consumption in a controversial way by comparing usual objects to valuables and paying capacity to an achievement.
Triple Elvis is a work of art that contains three levels. They are arranged hierarchically. The closes object seen by the viewers of the work is a blow up pool toy shaped as a red lobster. The second dimension of the work includes three photographs of a half naked Playboy model in seductive poses.
The last layer is the print made of Westermann’s art works arranged one over another in an abstract manner. This layer is located the farthest from the audience. Each of the dimensions overlaps with the ones near to it. Lobster pool toy is put on top of the whole work.
By creating such hierarchy in his art work, Koons demonstrated the reversed values where art is at the very bottom of the pyramid, and pornographic images are more important than it.3 They also are bigger in size. Finally, the very top is occupied by a very simple entertainment item that is not artistic at all.
Adding it to his pyramid of art Koons shows the new attitude towards aesthetics and beauty. Making the lobster a part of the art work and actually placing it on top of everything else Koons demonstrated the ranks of values.
This way Koons’ pyramid of art turns to the pyramid of consumption. The most popular kind of goods and entertainments are represented by the pool toy. The next is a series of images of sexual character – the second most popular consumption product.
Finally, art is at the very bottom and is mixed up. In this work Koons makes art a part of consumption culture of the eighties. This is why all art works of Koons were based on the elements of Triple Elvis.
Farago, Jason. “Jeff Koons: A Retrospective review – great, good, bad and terrible art”. The guardian. Web.
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Fineberg, Jonathan. Art Since 1940. Upper Saddle River: Peason, 2010.
Jeff Koons: A Retrospective”. Whitney.org. Web.
1 “Jeff Koons: A Retrospective”, Whitney.org.
2 Jason Farago, “Jeff Koons: A Retrospective review – great, good, bad and terrible art”, The guardian.
3 Jonathan Fineberg, Art Since 1940 (Upper Saddle River: Peason, 2010), 460.