Record Breaking $18.6 Million Kippenberger Leads “If I Live I’ll See You Tuesday” – Evening Sale May 12, 2014 at Christie’s New York of Contemporary Art
UPDATE: The sale, attended by more than 800 people, featured 35 lots (following the withdrawal of a Llyn Foulkes painting), was a resounding success with only one lot unsold and several artists’ new record prices. The sale brought in $116,325, within the $92,960,000-124,080,00 estimate (the final tally inclusive of the buyers’ premiums was $134,630,000 – however, the presale estimate does not include the premiums).
It got off to a brisk start with a Cady Nolan assemblage that blew past it’s $120,000 high estimate to hammer at $420,000 ($509,000 with the buyer’s premium). The Christopher Wool, a work on paper version of the enamel on aluminum in the Museum of Modern Art landed in the middle of its presale estimate, hammering at $1.2 million ($1,445,000 with the buyer’s premium). Alex Israel’s massive (83 7/8 x 166¾ in.) and recent (2012) Sky Backdrop shot past the $300,000 high estimate to hammer at $850,000 ($1,025,000 with the buyer’s premium). The Richard Prince that gave the sale its name sold for $4 million ($4,645,000 with the buyer’s premium), to the same buyer of Rudolf Stingel’s Untitled, followed immediately by Jeff Koons’ Two Ball Total Equilibrium Tank (Spalding Dr. J Silver Series), which made a hammer price of $6 million ($6,885,000 with the buyer’s premium). The Richard Prince Nurse of Greenmeadow sold for a hammer price of $7.5 million ($8,565,000 with the buyer’s premium), a new record for the artist.
The Kippenberger saw a sustained bidding war that yielded a winning and record breaking hammer price of $16.5 million ($18,645,000 with the buyer’s premium) from a Chinese idler by telephone, followed by Koons’ Aqualung at a hammer price of $10.2 million ($11,589,000 with the buyer’s premium), “consigned by Christie’s owner Francois Pinault … [and sold to] to international dealer David Namhad,” according to Judd Tully at Artinfo.com, then a record-breaking $3 million for Wade Guyton’s Untitled ($3,525,000 with the buyer’s premium). Andy Warhol’s 1965 yellow Little Electric Chair fell within its $7.5-9.5 million estimate to hammer for $9.2 million ($10,469,000 with the buyer’s premium). LA-based collector Eli Broad picked John Baldessari’s Grimm’s Fairy Tales: The Frog King and Damien Hirst’s flies and resin on canvas work Fear. A dozen bidder chased after R.H. Quaytman’s Spine, Chapter 20 (Silberkuppe), which zipped past its $80,000 high estimate to hammer at $220,000 ($269,00 with the buyer’s premium), a new record for the artist.
ORIGINAL POST: The night before its traditional sale of Post War and Contemporary Art, Christie’s is holding a separate sale of contemporary art from the past 30 years – the niche that Phillips has been mining with varying degrees of success. At 36 lots, the sale – If I Live I’ll See You Tuesday… – is half the size of the one that follows the next evening. According to a Christie’s press release: “Carefully assembled by International Specialist, Loïc Gouzer, the sale … encapsulates the gritty and underbelly-esq side of Contemporary Art. Tough, controversial, and beautiful, this sale will bring together established names along with a new generation of artists. Built around a mood and an atmosphere, Loïc Gouzer sought to convey the darker side of what art can be.” The sale’s title comes from the Richard Prince painting below, though I’m not sure, save for a couple of dystopic works, what makes this selection dark. Splitting this off from the following evening sale prevents the latter from being an exhausting marathon cum hostage crisis. However, for attendees, it means two successive trips to midtown, which is dark in its own way. In addition to the works illustrated here, artists represented include Joe Bradley, Cady Nolan, John Baldessari, Wade Guyton, Mike Kelley, and many others.
This work carries a third party guarantee, so it will be sold. From the catalogue:
Painted in 1990, If I Die is one of Richard Prince’s celebrated series of monochromatic joke paintings; the deadpan, visual expressions of humor that have been the mainstay of the American artist’s career. Picking out the two lines of the joke in a deep blue, anonymous sans serif font, and setting it within a vast field of flatly painted cardinal red, Prince has created a work that resounds on abstract, conceptual and prosaic levels … Following in the footsteps of Marcel Duchamp, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns, Prince’s use or appropriation of jokes present us with snippets of contemporary subcultures that hint at complex, specific social understandings. With characteristic iconoclasm, Prince has taken the esteemed legacy of some of the most serious schools of painting and subverted it, resulting in a picture that is disarmingly resonant despite the simplicity and understated elegance of its execution.
I’m still not sure where I fall on Jeff Koons, but his his examination of total equilibrium via basketballs is brilliant:
Metaphysically conceived and scientifically engineered, this work is part of an important early series created under the heading Equilibrium for Koons’ first solo gallery exhibition in 1985, examples of which now reside in the Tate Modern, London, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Astrup Fearnley Collection, Oslo and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. These pristine tanks, featuring varying combinations of one, two and three basketballs in different-sized containers, were developed in consultation with the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard P. Feynman, who guided Koons in his attempt to achieve perfect equilibrium.
It is remarkable how Prince’s Nurse Paintings shot price-wise into the stratosphere, considering when they were first shown they received mixed responses, not all selling at the asking prices of $50,000 to $60,000 – this work carries a third party guarantee, so it will sell:
First debuted to the public in 2003, the Nurse series extends Richard Prince’s signature strategy of appropriation developed in the 1970s as part of the Pictures Generation, challenging notions of authorship, authenticity and the vectors that combine to create identity. In Nurse of Greenmeadow, the artist creates the work through a process of scanning and copying of an original book cover, authored by Jane Gorby. This, however, is not the cover of the book by the same title. Instead Prince complicates the visual associations by using the cover art of another contemporary title, not readily identified-here an innocent nurse is transposed into an eerily confident brutish blonde. Prince uses an inkjet printer to mechanically transpose this image, swiftly stripping the original of its background until it features just the single, isolated woman. Scaled up to heroic, life-size proportions, Prince affixes his new image to the canvas, soon after beginning his process of painterly manipulation. A consummate collector of genre fiction, Prince himself has amassed a large collection of nurse-romance novels over time. These books, published in the 1950s and 1960s as small, portable, softback novels often involved a female heroine embroiled in an impossible love dilemma. In Nurse of Greenmeadow the original cover spells out the steamy plot: “A beautiful nurse finds danger and thrilling romance in a mysterious mansion,” (J. Gorby, Nurse of Greenmeadow, 1965). The titles of Prince’s other works including Man-Crazy Nurse, Park Avenue Nurse, Nympho Nurse and Tender Nurse all suggest similar stories, and reveal additional facets to the entrenched female stereotype. They also describe the extent to which women in a caring and healing capacity have become sexualized and fetishized objects in parts of the popular imaginary.
This work carries a third party guarantee, so it will sell. From the catalogue:
“Old dirty bags, grease, bones, hair…it’s about us, it’s about me. It isn’t negative. We should look at these images and see how positive they are, how strong, how powerful. Our hair is positive, it’s powerful, look what it can do. There’s nothing negative about our images, it all depends on who is seeing it and we’ve been depending on someone else’s sight….We need to look again and decide.” – David Hammons Like a starburst erupting from the traditional position of the easel picture, Untitled, 1978, releases a fusillade of “spear heads” from its central crown, wittily, yet mordantly, surging outward into the space of the viewer with all the energy and force of a threatened adversary. That the “spears” are poised in a liminal space, yet restrained by their support, in no way diminishes the impact of their directional force. Related to a series of works from the 1970s, such as Flight Fantasy, 1978, employing wire and hair, Untitled, 1978, also incorporates vinyl shards and bamboo to address the African American body, identity, and its relation to the Western art canon. Challenging white modernist notions of the separation of art from its social and political contexts, Hammons appropriates artifacts associated both with pop culture and African traditions, manipulating – in the manner of Marcel Duchamp’s readymades and the Italian Arte Povera artists – his materials in an effort to break down the traditional opposition between art and life.
This work carries a third party guarantee, so it will be sold:
Straddling the line between self-depiction and self-debasement, Martin Kippenberger’s Untitled from 1988 is a paunchy and pugnacious antithesis of the revered genre of self-portraiture. Remembered for his conceptual and expressive transformation of the 1980s and 1990s art scene, Kippenberger waged a one-man attack against the art world’s status quo in an earnest effort to destabilize the post-War German paradigm. At the heart of his prodigious output lies the artist’s own ebullient and exuberant character, most powerfully and famously articulated in his self-portraits. For Kippenberger, the self-portrait was no exercise in hubris; instead it offered an inglorious pathetic tool, launching an assault on the artistic institution.
This work carries a third party guarantee, so it will sell:
A seminal sculpture from Jeff Koons’ pivotal Equilibrium series, Aqualung is an intricate bronze cast of a scuba device. Created using various molds to ensure perfect execution, the work is a tantalizingly detailed simulacrum in which every crevice, crease and curve proclaims Koons’ trademark pursuit of technical precision. Executed in 1985, the work was exhibited at the artist’s landmark solo gallery debut during the same year, alongside its Equilibrium counterparts. Transcending his earlier practice through an increased focus on immaculate artistic engineering, Koons’ Equilibriumseries has come to be recognized as a critical turning point in his stellar career. In its dramatic visualization of the thin divide between floating and drowning, soaring and plummeting, swimming and sinking, it constitutes one of the artist’s most powerful conceptual projects. Aqualung occupies a central position within this groundbreaking series, and has been widely exhibited in important retrospectives, notably at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples and Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung, Frankfurt. Exquisitely hyperreal yet disarmingly alien, it is a compelling symbol of life, discovery and exploration.
From the catalogue:
Standing at two and a half meters tall, with its steel body arched towards the sky, Thomas Schütte’s Untitled (Großer Geist No. 6) is a monumental vision of the human form. Strange and alluring in its startling physiognomy, Schütte’s outsized sculptural being is frozen in a powerful yet unknowable stance: poised on the brink of collapse, petrified in fearful surrender or perhaps captured in a moment of ecstatic praise. The work belongs to the renowned series ofGroße Geister (Big Spirits) that occupied Schütte’s output between 1995 and 2004. The sixth of seventeen different characters, each with its own definitive posture, the present sculpture has an aluminium twin held in the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, along with two other works from the series.
This work carries a third party guarantee, so it will sell:
“Roadhouse is one of a series of canvases in which a bleak mental landscape-abandoned buildings, telegraph wires, lowering skies- is sandwiched between abstract panels which function as surrogate sky and ground. The arrangement was inspired by the words of a 19th Century settler in Canada’s western prairies, quoted in a book on ice-hockey: Man is a grasshopper here, a mere insect making way between the enormous discs of Heaven and Earth.” – Gareth Jones