Untitled, 1979 is a very early and important work by Jeff Koons and is from the seminal series entitled The Pre-New. The work introduces many of the subjects the artist would continue to explore through out his career, art and the commodity, appropriation as a means of social commentary and exploration of sexuality.
In The Pre-New, the artist explores pristine, commercial arrangements of brand-new objects, resurrecting the spirit of 1960's Pop. It may be argued that Koons continues the legacy developed by Marcel Duchamp, by appropriating "everyday" objects and re-interpreting them, but in truth, the artist takes the approach one step further. It is the marketing and design of these new and pristine products, and the ensuing message they convey, which Koons finds appealing. The associations the products conjure provide the dialogue.
"In the 'Pre-New' I was manipulating objects. I was not maintaining the objects' integrity. I would glue a teapot to plastic tubes or put a bolt through the back of a coffee percolator. What was important in this work is that it liberated me from my own sexuality. I was taking my work into the realm of the objective. I was distancing myself from my own sexuality."
(R. Rosenblum and J. Koons, The Jeff Koons Handbook, New York 1992, p.42)
It can be argued that aesthetically, Untitled, 1979 comes as close to being associated with some of Koons' "Modernist" contemporaries, primarily the work of Dan Flavin, than any of his other works, yet the message could not be more different. Clearly, Untitled, 1979 is a direct precursor to the works Koons' produced between 1980 through to 1982, known as The New. In this series, Koons would go on to produce various installations of vacuum cleaners, electric brooms and floor polishers enshrined in plastic cases-pristine arrangements of brand-new products, continuing his explorations of the world of the objective.
Man Ray, Cadeau, 1921 c 2003 Man Ray/Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY/ADAGP, Paris