Peter’s Auction Picks of the Day: June 22nd


The 80’s: Breakin’ Again

Recently we have been seeing a strong interest in works from the 1980s.  I mean, 1980 was over 30 years ago, so it’s only natural that the vintage market would start seriously considering the works as important artistic statements and not simply funny, retro kitsch. Although to be sure, there are some works from the 80’s that are still too young to expect serious contemplation (I am looking at you Leroy Neiman).

In this sale there are some highlights by already world-famous artists that have transcended the 80’s decade. For example, Andy Warhol’s The Marx Brothers (Lot 166), originally created for the suite “Ten Portraits of Jews of the Twentieth Century 1980”.  However, other lesser known artists are fast becoming classic modern staples, for example Robert Longo’s Rick (Lot 33) and Raphael (Lot 34) .  These works are among the most viewed works on our website. When people come in to preview they ask “Are they dancing or dying?”. Whatever the artist’s intent the imagery is iconic and a typical of the strong graphic nature of the 1980s (these works were created in 1994 and 1998, but the series “Men in the Cities” was conceived in 1987).

Tom Holland’s  Platt (Lot 438) is immediately recognizable as the exuberant colorful mid-80’s artwork that was co-opted for album covers, MTV graphics, as well as, for advertising and fashion graphics.  This example is not only exceptionally large, but also exhibits Holland’s typical three dimensionally of brush strokes literally coming off the surface and curving or bending beneath other elements.

Andres Serrano’s Female Bust (Lot 230), is one of the few images from his infamous “Immersions” series where the artist was making statements about classicism and modernism by using iconic classical imagery and submerging them in a tank of urine. With such a shocking concept, the beauty of the finished works are even more startling.

Raymond Pettibon’s  I Want the Girl in the Wig Commercial  (Lot 302) is typical of the artist’s illustrations accompanied by text. While some of his works echo elements of Pop artists of an older generation, Pettibon finds his own distinct vocabulary. His works first came into the public awareness as album cover art of 80’s bands such as Sonic Youth and Black Flag. This early screenprint is from a small edition of 30.

All these works are bold, graphic, and full of references to Pop Culture, but not in an obvious way like the original Pop artists did. As time passes, more and more work from the 80s will be seen as classic and timeless, and will not be an obvious reminder of  the moment, eventually transcending your own ideas of what the 80s were.

Lot Information:

Lot 166
Andy Warhol  
The Marx Brothers (from Ten Portraits of Jews of the Twentieth Century 1980)
1980
#124 of 200
Screenprint on Lenox Museum Board  Signed and dated lower left
Sheet 40″ x 32″; Frame 40.5″ x 32.5″
Catalogue Raisonne F/S #11.232
Estimate $45,000 – 55,000
June 26, 2011 Modern Art & Design Auction

Lot 33
Robert Longo  
Rick (from Men in the Cities)  
1994
HC 13 of 18; aside from the edition of 170
Lithograph on Arches Cover paper  Signed and dated lower right; edition lower left
Sheet 45.875″ x 30″; frame 52″ x 36″
Estimate $5,000 – 8,000
June 26, 2011 Modern Art & Design Auction

Lot 34
Robert Longo

Raphael (from Men in the Cities)
1998
#13 of 120
Lithograph on Rives BFK paper
Signed and dated lower right; edition lower left
Sheet 45.875″ x 30″; frame 52″ x 36″
Estimate $5,000 – 8,000
June 26, 2011 Modern Art & Design Auction

Lot 438
Tom Holland  
Platt  
Circa 1980
Epoxy on fiberglass
Signature, date and title verso
88″ x 63″ x 4″
Estimate $2,000 – 3,000
June 26, 2011 Modern Art & Design Auction

Lot 230
Andres Serrano  
Female Bust (From Immersions)    
1988
#6 of 10
Cibachrome  Signature, title and edition verso
40″ x 30″
Provenance: Stefan Stux Gallery; Private Collection, Los Angeles (Acquired from above on September 14, 1991)
Estimate $20,000 – 25,000
June 26, 2011 Modern Art & Design Auction

Lot 302
Raymond Pettibon

I Want the Girl in the Wig Commercial
1989
#18 of 30
Silkscreen
Signed lower right; edition lower left
Sheet 22.25″ x 15″; Frame 26″ x 18.75″
Estimate $2,000 – 3,000
June 26, 2011 Modern Art & Design Auction

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