Contemporary Art

Philips de Pury

New York

7 PM, March 4, 2010

Sale NY010010

"Trapped Priest" by Condo

Lot 4, "Trapped Priest," by George Condo, bronze, 29 by 22 by 19 1/2 nches, 2006, from an edition of six

By Carter B. Horsley

As usual, Philips de Pury published the most impressive and largest catalogues in the auction business in New York and while its offerings are generally small in number and estimates in comparison with their uptown rivals very oten its quality includes some of the choicest items on the market. Furthermore, Philips de Pury is not static and it recently entered an agreement to become a partner in the redevelopment of Pier 15 in the Hudson River near Chelsea, which should give its a more prominent, if not sensational, location.

Lot 4 is a wonderful and fabulous bronze sculpture by George Condo (b. 1957) entitled "Trapped Priest." It measures 29 by 22 by 19 1/2 inches and is from an edition of six. It has a modest estimate of $80,000 to $120,000. It sold for $146,500 includng the buyer's premium as do all results mentioned in his article.

The catalogue provides the following commentary:

"George Condo's oeuvre has been largely based on the creation of cartoon-like characters, examining the psychology of human canality and deformity through his dismantled visions of realitiy. His works evoke humor, encouraging viewers to revel in their own sardonic mirth. Condo's sculptures share imagery with his paintings: imagery of characters that occupy the artist's mind as archtypes of human conditions. Condo's dissatisfation with this Catholic childhood has preoccupied much of his work, driving him him to create imagery involving the vengeful mutilation of priests. Condo's sculpture Trapped Priest is a golden reliquary to Condo's experience with religion. A compressed, carcass-like figure sits locked within an overtuned grocery cart with its wheels in the air, the car itself a futile object that incapacitates the damaged priest. This work this exagerates the futility Condo sees in his childhood of religion."

It is, of course, much more than an examination of the futility of his childhood of religion. It is a very potent and very beautiful work that resonates with contemporary disgust at sexual abuses by priests but also calls into question the extinction of some of the earth's most wonderful species and a work that turns the shopping-center mentality of America on its head and substitutes the wheels of shopping carts for the winged ages of Rococo angels.

Of the 34 offered lots in this auction, 22 sold for $2,192,850.

"Scab Noggin" by Parrino

Lot 11, "Scab Noggin," by Steven Parrino, acrylic on canvas, 72 inches square, 1988

Lot 11, Scab Noggin," is a very beautiful and large work by Steven Parrino (1958-2005). An acrylic on canvas, it measures 72 inches square and was created in 1988.

The catalogue provides the following commentary:

"The present lot by Steven Parrino is an exemplary highlight of the artist's fascination with tools of contortion within the medium of painting resulting in deconstructed artwork reminiscent of artists such as Lucio Fontana and Piero Manzoni. In Scab Noggin, Parrino presents a canvas which after painting, has been literally pulled and twisted away from the figure of the stretcher and crumpled. Raw canvas that ordinarly would be pinned behind the painting is suddenly revealed, expressing an aggressive new foreground. The result of this process yields a response niherent to Parrino's attitude towads his art: autonomous, uncompromising and tough as nails."

All that, of course, is accurate but the trouble with much "Postmodern" works is that in the end they don't embody much aesthetics or beauty, whereas this Parrino work is luscious and conjures numerous paintings of voluptuous maidens hidding behind sheets and the kind of kinetic beauty that Cy Twombly could never begin to dream of.

The lot has an estimate of $400,000 to $600,000. It sold for $458,500.

"Schwules Baby" by Genzken

Lot 12, "Schwules Baby," by steel and aluminum, by Isa Genzken, 43 by 16 1/8 by 13 3/4 inches

Lot 12 is a steel and aluminum scupture by Isa Genzken (b. 1948) that is entitled "Schwules Baby." It measures 43 by 16 1/8 by 13 3/4 inches and was created in 1997 and is unique. It has an estimate of $30,000 to $40,000. It failed to sell.

An essay by A. Wege on the artit in the October 2000 issue of Art Forum remarked that "What the 'traditional sculpture label can't quite capture, however, is Genzken's remarkable ruthlessness - the manner her work underlines the rejection of traditional understandings of sculpture and space while reflecting on disclosing the specific circumstances of their production and reception. The integration of a range of references - personal, social, and institutional - with the qeustion of the (im)possiblity of exchange and communication constitutes the second pole of Genzken's working process."

Lot 24, "Fungusia," by Tal R, oil paint, crayonk paper,pasteborad on canas, 98 1/2 inches square, 2002

Lot 24 is a 98 1/2-inch square work on canvas by Tal R (b. 1967) entitled "Fungusia. The lot has an estimate of $70,000 to $90,000. It failed to sell.

"Hagen v. Tronje's Privatarmee..." by Meese

Lot 25, "Hagen v. Tronje's Privatarmee "Scweinchen Dick de Monokeltennonon Zuckerpuppe am Madchen Kolibri," by Jonathan Meese, oil on canvas, 78 3/4 by 111 1/8 inches, 2004.

Lot 25, "Hagen v. Tronje's Privatarmee "Scweinchen Dick de Monokeltennonon Zuckerpuppe am Madchen Kolibri," by Jonathan Meese (b. 1970) is a colorful oil on canvas that measures 78 3/4 by 111 1/8 inches. It was painted in 2004. The catalogue entry notes that "Meese's painting depicts several disfigured and contorted forms held for an instant, in an emotional gaze with the viewer. The viewer cannot focus and therefore became part of the pendemonium, pulled into the painting, eyes flinting from side to side. The disorder and deep suffering are calmed by a sense of surrender and humanity in which the ancient mythic creature Hagen overcomes a truly humbe hero. It has an estimate of $80,000 to $120,000. It failed to sell.

"Friend Fear" by Gilbert & George

Lot 33, "Friend Fear," by Gilbert & George, acrylic and paper collage on paper in twelve parts on the artit's mteal frames, 71 1/4 by 79 1/2 inches, 1983

Lot 33 is a large, 12-part composition in acrylic and paper collage on artists' metal frames by Gilbert (b. 1943) & George (b. 1942). Entitled "Friend Fear," it measures 71 1/4 by 79 1/2 inches and was created in 1983. It has an estimate of $150,000 to $250,000. It failed to sell.

 


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