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Auction Description for Sotheby's: Contemporary Art Part One

Contemporary Art Part One

by Sotheby's


70 lots with images

May 15, 2001

1334 York Avenue

at 72nd Street

New York, NY, 10021 USA

Phone: 00 1 212 606 7000

Fax: 0141 204 2502

Email: info@sothebys.com

ROBERT RYMAN (b. 1930)

Lot 1: ROBERT RYMAN (b. 1930)

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Description: ROBERT RYMAN (b. 1930)Untitledsigned and dated 60 on the reverseoil on unstretched linen8 7/8 by 8 3/4 in. 22.5 by 22.2cm.PROVENANCEPrivate collection, New YorkGalerie Lelong, New YorkEXHIBITEDMinneapolis, Walker Art Center,Twin Cities Collect,September 2000 - January 2001

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DAN FLAVIN (1933-1996)

Lot 2: DAN FLAVIN (1933-1996)

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Description: DAN FLAVIN (1933-1996)Red and Green Alternatives(to Sonja)red and green fluorescent lightwidth: 48in. 121.9cm.EXECUTED IN 1964, THIS WORK IS NUMBER ONE FROM AN EDITION OF FIVE AND IS ACCOMPANIED BY A CERTIFICATE OF AUTHENTICITY SIGNED BY THE ARTIST.PROVENANCEAquired by the present ownerdirectly from the artist

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CARL ANDRE (b. 1935)

Lot 3: CARL ANDRE (b. 1935)

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Description: CARL ANDRE (b. 1935)Aluminum-Zinc Plainaluminum and zinc, 36-unit square (6 x 6), 18 plates of each metal alternatingeach: 3/8 by 12 by 12in. 1 by 30.5 by 30.5cm.overall: 3/8 by 72 by 72in. 1 by 182.9 by 182.9cm.Executed in New York in 1969, this sculpture is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist and dated January 16, 93, the date he amended the certificate to correct the date of execution.PROVENANCEAnnina Nosei Gallery, New YorkSaatchi Collection, LondonGagosian Gallery, New YorkPrivate Collection, Laguna BeachNew York, Sotheby's, November 10, 1993, lot 26Acquired by the present owner from the aboveEXHIBITEDNew York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; St. Louis Museum of Art, Carl Andre, September 1970-June 1971 (as part of 37 Pieces of Work), cat. no. 32, pl. 32, p. 56, illustrated in colorLondon, Whitechapel Art Gallery, Carl Andre: Sculpture, 1959-1978, March-April 1978, cat. no. 14, illustrated on preface page and twice on subsequent pages (installation view)LITERATUREAngela Westwater, Carl Andre Sculpture 1958-1974, Bern, 1975, p. 47, no. 34David Bourdon, Carl Andre: Sculpture 1959-1977, Laguna Gloria Art Museum, Austin, 1978, p. 33, illustrated (installation view of 37 Pieces of Work at the Guggenheim Museum)Peter Schjeldahl, Art of Our Time: The Saatchi Collection, Volume 1, London and New York, 1984, pl. 5, illustrated in colorRita Sartorius, ed., Carl Andre, Haags Gemeentemuseum, The Hague; Eindhoven, Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, 1987, p. 42, no. 1969.55Eva Meyer-Hermann, Carl Andre Sculptor 1996, Museen Haus Lange & Haus Esters Krefeld, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, 1996, pp. 176, 248, 262 and p. 177, illustrated (installation view of 37 Pieces of Work at the Guggenheim Museum)Aluminum-Zinc Plain was one of thirty-six component parts of 37 Pieces of Work, conceived by Andre for his one-man show at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1970. Each of the 36 components was an independent 6 x 6 unit 'plain', consisting of two alternating metals. The grouping of 36 'plains' became the 37th square, hence the title of the work as it was installed in the lobby of the Guggenheim rotunda. As you ascended the circular ramp, the interplay of alternating metals (matte versus shiny, light versus heavy) became dramatically apparent. After the exhibition, 37 Pieces of Work again became 36 autonomous 'plains'.

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BRUCE NAUMAN (b. 1941)

Lot 4: BRUCE NAUMAN (b. 1941)

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Description: BRUCE NAUMAN (b. 1941)NoNoneon tubing with clear glasstubing suspension frame11 by 36 3/4 by 2 1/8 in. 27.9 by 93.3 by 5.4cm.Executed in 1983, this sculpture is unique.PROVENANCELeo Castelli Gallery, New YorkAcquired by the present owner from the above in 1986LITERATURENeal Benezra, et. al., Bruce Nauman: Catalogue RaisonnE, Minneapolis, 1995, cat. no. 316, illustratedBruce Nauman: NONO. Blue + White / adjacent / Neon alternateflashing No / 1 sec. No/repeat / Red + White and Blue + White, 1983Bruce Nauman expresses a profound empathy with the human condition in the modern and post-modern world, utilizing a kind of Wittgenstein linguistic game of text and meaning. "No" is an integral member of Nauman's lexicon of language, embodying the power of authority, and the contradictory essence of human existence. The neon NoNo is the first appearance of this word in Nauman's oeuvre. The blue and white letters, in insistent roman type, remain consistently lit. The red and white letters, in pliant italic type, blink on and off.The subsequent uses of "no" appear in various Nauman videos, most famously in Clown Torture and Clown Torture (I'm Sorry and No, No, No, No), both of 1987. In each a clown shouts "no" in various intonations, concurrent orsimultaneous to other loops of repetitive dialogue or actions, emphasizing the frustrations of man's existence.Property from an American Corporate Collection

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CHARLES RAY (b. 1953)

Lot 5: CHARLES RAY (b. 1953)

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Description: CHARLES RAY (b. 1953)Nocolor photograph in artist's frame38 by 30in. 96.5 by 76.2cm.Executed in 1992, this work isnumber two from an edition of four.PROVENANCEDonald Young Gallery, SeattleAcquired by the present owner from the above in 1992EXHIBITEDcf., Seattle, Donald Young Gallery, Charles Ray, May-July 1992Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, Radical Scavenger(s): The Conceptual Vernacular in Recent American Art, February-April 1994, p. 53, illustrated in colorcf., Malmö, Rooseum-Center for Contemporary Art; London, Institute of Contemporary Art; Bern, Kunsthalle; Zurich, Kunsthalle, Charles Ray, March-October 1994, p. 55, illustrated in colorPhiladelphia, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania; Omaha, Joslyn Art Museum; Greensboro, Weatherspoon Art Gallery, University of North Carolina, Face Off: The Portrait in Recent Art, September 1994-May 1995, p.25, illustrated in colorLos Angeles, California Center for the Arts, Narcissism: Artists Reflect Themselves, February-May 1996, p. 31, illustrated in colorcf., Milwaukee Art Museum; Aspen Art Museum, Identity Crisis: Self-Portraiture at the End of the Century, September 1997-February 1998, cat. no. 42, p. 60, illustrated in colorcf., Los Angeles, Museum of Contemporary Art, A Lasting Legacy: Selections from the Lannan Foundation Gift, September 1997-January 1998cf., New York, Whitney Museum of American Art; Los Angeles, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, Charles Ray, June 1998-February 1999, p. 34, illustrated in colorAspen Art Museum, 20 Years, 20 Artists, August-September 1999, cat. no. 11, p. 47, illustrated in colorcf., Los Angeles, Museum of Contemporary Art, A Room of Their Own: From Arbus to Gober, February 2001-2003LITERATURELane Relyea, "Charles Ray in the No", Artforum 31, no. 1, September 1992, p. 66, illustratedElisabeth Sussman, et. al., 1993 Biennial Exhibition, New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, 1993, p. 215, illustrated in colorLane Relyea, "Charles Ray in the No", Bijutsu Techo, April 1993, pp. 184-194, illustratedPeter Schjeldahl, "Ray's Tack", Parkett no. 37, Zurich, 1993, p. 26, illustrated in colorChristopher Knight, "Charles Ray, Mind-Bender", Los Angeles Times, November 17, 1998, p. F1, illustratedIn the dialectic between life and art, the questions of the identity of a work of art, the artist's identity and where they overlap, is a rich vein of investigation in the art of Charles Ray. Just as Bruce Nauman objectified himself in works such as Art Make-Up Nos. 1-4 (1967-68),applying layers of thick stage make-up, Ray obscures and confounds the identifying nature of portraiture. The immaculately crafted and strangely beautiful self-portrait, No is a quintessential Ray "double take",eliciting investigation by the viewer. As in his first major, eye-catching work, Ink Box (1986), questions are posed to the viewer. Filled to the brim with printer's ink, the box gives no hint as to the true nature of its surface. Is it a solid of shiny metal or a container of reflective viscous liquid? Empty or full, solid or liquid, touchable or untouchable - the viewer's questions were often answered only by touch - not perception. In How a Table Works (1986), the formalist principle of flatness and surface are absent - the table disappears except for the legs and edges, with the objects supported in mid-air by brackets. In Tabletop (1986), the objects rest on a solid wooden surface, but they slowly rotate, defying the definition of a still-life. In No, theformalist conventions of portraiture are undermined with the samesubversive spirit.No expands the sense of conundrum and formalist allegory when onerealizes that the photograph depicts a reproduction of Ray, rather than the artist himself. From his earliest works of performative sculpture and autobiographically informed photographs of the 1970s, much of Ray's work has centered on his own body. In sculptural form, portions of the artist were encased in clocks or bisected by shelves, producing a form of sculpture often related to behavior or action. Photographs, such as All My Clothes (1973) and Plank Piece I and II (1973), combined and tweaked influences as diverse as performance art, body art and Minimalism. But of greatest interest in comparison to No is "a series of photographs that Ray took under the influence of various drugs - a precedent for Yes (1990). While under the influence of marijuana, LSD, and mescaline, Ray took a series ofphotographs that recorded his different states of consciousness. This investigation into his psychological states anticipated his psychologically charged figurative work of the 1990s." (Paul Schimmel, Charles Ray, Los Angeles, 1998, p. 70)In 1990, Self-Portrait was Ray's first use of a "stand-in" for his bodily presence; in this case a Sears & Roebuck mannequin, with a likeness of his own head attached and clad in duplicates of clothes he wore during his favorite activity, sailing. Ray enjoyed the dislocation of combining specific personal features, as in his genitals on Male Mannequin, onto a generic and lifeless form. In 1992, Ray created No as the counterpart to the hallucinogenic Yes, the photograph of Ray "under the influence", which was then mounted in a convex frame and hung on a convex wall to disorient the viewer. Ray's image in No is a realistic fiberglass mold of his head and hands, painted in lifelike tones. Presented life-size and in the same frame as Yes, No's visualdisjunction - the force that makes us re-examine the validity of truths that we gather from perceptual experience - is our questioning of the "falseness" of the medium (fiberglass) versus the obvious physical resemblance.As Paul Schimmel commented in the catalogue to the artist's mid-careerretrospective of 1998-1999, "From a psychological standpoint, No is one of Ray's most disturbing self-portraits because it is so lifelike and yet so lifeless. When one looks carefully at the photograph, it resembles Ray himself, subjected to an exceedingly bad makeup job, rather than an inanimate facsimile of him. And in spite of the fact that it represents him more accurately than any of his other self-portraits, one is unable to discern from it any sense of the person within. As Ray has stated, "Yes was hallucinatory, and No is delusional." (Ibid., p. 84-85)l "Physically speaking it seemed to me I was now becoming rapidly unrecognisable. And when I passed my hands over my face,...the face my hands felt was not my face any more, and the hands my face felt were my hands no longer." Samuel Beckett, Molloy, 1977

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