4. Jeff Koons at the Whitney Museum
The Whitney Museum did a full retrospective exhibition on Jeff Koons at its former Bruer building on the Upper East Side from 2014 to 2015, his first in a major museum and the final exhibition before the Whitney moved to its current location in the Meatpacking district. But in the permanent collection at the Whitney is the work “New Hoover Convertibles, Green, Blue; New Hoover Convertibles, Green, Blue; Doubledecker,” a ready-made-like work featuring four Hoover vacuum cleaners, which was originally exhibited in a 1980 exhibition at the New Museum.
Created in an era before Dyson, Koons almost presaged the designification of such household objects. The museum writes, “Koons placed brand-new, store-bought vacuum cleaners in a sterile, fluorescent-lit vitrine that protects them from the dirt and grime they are designed to remove. By thoroughly transforming the expected context and use of the vacuum cleaners, and by raising domestic appliances to the realm of fine art, Koons makes us question not only our assumptions of what constitutes art, but society’s obsession with cleanliness, efficiency, and newness. ‘I don’t seek to make consumer icons,’ Koons explained, ‘but to decode why and how consumer objects are glorified.’