By Carter B. Horsley
Contemporary art encompasses a wide gamut of
genres, styles and sizes. Some works are enormous and others are,
well, tiny, such as the "fly" offered as Lot 415 in
The "untitled" piece is a fly made
of plastic, hair, fuzz, Play-Doh, wire and paint by Tom Friedman
(b. 1965). It measures ¼ by ½ by ¾ inches.
The catalogue notes that it is one of two "distinct fly sculptures
made by the artist," adding that the other "includes
a pedestal and is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art,
New York." The work was executed in 1995 and has an estimate
of $40,000 to $60,000. It sold for $88,125 including the buyers
premium as do all the results in this article.
Lot 438, "President Lincoln," a mixed-media
construction with rubber over armature with a single hair from
President Lincoln, on the other hand is a quite graceful and large
teardrop-shaped dark blue sculpture by Charles Long (b. 1958).
Created between 1992 and 1995, it measures 59.1 by 24.4 by 24.4
inches. It has an estimate of $6,000 to $8,000. It failed to
A 37.6-by-73-inch oil stick on paper of "Federal
Plaza II" by Richard Serra (b. 1939), Lot 449, is a 1984
work related to the artists famous and very controversial
huge bronze sculpture that bisected the plaza of the Federal Building
on Foley Square in Lower Manhattan. It has an estimate of $30,000
to $40,000. It sold for $76,375.
A large, poster-like work depicting bottles
of White Label Dewars Blended Scotch Whiskey, entitled "The
Empire State of Scotch, Dewars," by Jeff Koons (b. 1945)
is estimated at $100,000 to $150,000. It is one of an edition
of two plus one artists proof and measures 44 ½ by
60 inches. It sold for $160,000.
The auction was quite successful with 87
percent of the 210 offered lots selling for a total of $6,649,302.
One of the auctions more stunning works
is Lot 453, "Untitled," a 60-by-40-inch charcoal and
chalk, shown above, that was executed in 1988 by Joel Elias Shapiro
(b. 1941). The lot, which conjures an Adolf Gottlieb in a rectilinear
and angled mode, has an estimate of $30,000 to $40,000. It
sold for $35,250.
Two very lyrical works by Anselm Kiefer (b.
1945) are Lots 468 and 470. The former, entitled "Der Tod
des Virgil," is a 45.7-by-34-inch mixed-media with dried
branch, gelatin silver print and silverleaf on lead, shown above.
Executed in 1986, it has an estimate of $70,000 to $90,000. It
sold for $116,000. The latter work, entitled "Wurzel
Jesse (Tree of Jesse)," shown below, was executed the following
year and has an estimate of $150,000 to $200,000. It sold for
$127,000. Similar in style, it is made of palm roots, gelatin
silver prints and resin on lead and measures 95 by 51 ½
An attractive and colorful oil by Sandro Chia
(b. 1946), Lot 481, entitled "Painter with Sons and Frog,"
is estimated at $50,000 to $70,000. The 86 ¾-by-78 ½-inch
oil on canvas was painted in 1984. It sold for $47,000.
Ross Bleckner (b. 1949) is a versatile painter
who is proficient in many styles. Lot 485, "Cage (Second
Version)," shown above, is a striking composition of vertical
black, green and yellow lines with two inset boxes, one with a
faint depiction of a bird. The 108-by-72-inch oil on canvas was
painted between 1985 and 1988. It has an estimate of $20,000 to
$25,000. It sold for $21,500.
Lot 514, "Relic from my Childhood,"
a 51 3/8-by-76 ¾-inch oil on canvas by George Condo (b.
1957) is an intriguing work that conjures the mysterious masks
of James Ensor. It has an estimate of $18,000 to $22,000. It
sold for $28,200.
Lot 517, "Fertility," is an intensely
colored work by Kenny Sharf (b. 1958) that mixes the comic and
the surreal. It shows a blue "structure" that appears
to have a large mouth, small arms and two happy little faces on
its long tentacles on either side of a large red globe that presumably
is a clowns nose. The 48-by-72-inch oil and spray paint
on canvas has an estimate of $10,000 to $15,000. It sold for
Lot 524, "Untitled," is a charming
depiction of monkeys frolicking in a tree by Keith Haring (1958-1990).
The 189 ¼-by-139-inch acrylic on canvas was painted in
1983. It has an estimate of $100,000 to $150,000. It sold for
Another amusing work is Lot 529, "Untitled,"
by David Wojnarowicz (b. 1954) and Kiki Smith (b. 1954) that depicts
a figure fishing while seated upon a head of a giant serpent that
is covered with a map and tangling from his fishing rod is a globe
painted with the figure of a man on fire. The 20-by-18-by-26-inch
work is acrylic on printed paper collage and paper maché
with metal nails, wooden rod and monofilament. Executed in 1984,
the work, shown above, has an estimate of $18,000 to $20,000.
It failed to sell.
About half of the auction was devoted to photographs.
Lot 541, "Selfportrait, Marnixbad, Amsterdam,
1991," by Rineke Dijkstra (b. 1959) shows the artist in a
striped bathing suit inside an indoor swimming pool. The 60 ¼-by-50
7/8-inch color coupler print, one of an edition of six, has an
estimate of $15,000 to $20,000. It sold for $102,800.
Lot 555 is a diptych of color coupler prints
showing two views of bank vaults by Andreas Gursky (b. 955). Each
print measures 51 ½ by 60 ½ inches and the work
is number four of an editon of ten. It has an estimate of $40,000
to $60,000 and was executed in December, 1999. It sold or $116,000.