Specialist Picks – Heritage Auctions: October Surprise

Artsy Auctions
Oct 17, 2016 7:11PM

With less than a month until the United States presidential election, cable news and social media outlets are consumed by the candidates and the potential outcome in November. Artsy and Heritage Auctions have collaborated to present our very own “October Surprise” – an online auction featuring works that explore themes of culture and identity, along with symbols of what America means to domestic and international artists. Henceforth are the works that I will be voting for this election cycle.

Uncle Sam is a part of 10 screenprints in the Myths series that exemplify Warhol’s search for powerful and culturally relevant motifs of his time. Most of the images in Warhol’s Myths series are taken from 1950s television or old Hollywood films; characters such as Mickey Mouse, Dracula and the Wicked Witch of the West. Some art historians and critics have speculated that the 10 characters Warhol chose represent the different facets of his personality. A true collectible, these screenprints have become some of Warhol’s most collected works with Uncle Sam achieving prices in the range of $25,000 to $40,000 at auction.

Longo’s iconic “Men in the Cities” series has long been one of my favorite bodies of art. The elegance of the artist’s black and white drawings is both confrontational and tranquil, which is why I’m drawn to the rippling American flag featured in this sale. It’s generous size, nearly 7 feet long, makes it a commanding work as well. It’s especially exciting to have this work in the sale as other prints from the edition of 15 have not been sold at auction and we’re thrilled to give our collectors an opportunity to own a great work by Longo.

Jack Pierson works in photography, sculpture, installation, painting, bookmaking and drawing, but is best known for the re-appropriation of commercial signage and large-scale vintage lettering, which he uses to create evocative word-sculptures and installations. Part of the Boston School, a group of photographers in the 1980s, he’s accompanied by acclaimed photographers Nan Goldin and Phillip-Lorca diCorcia. His work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among other museums worldwide.

Part of his groundbreaking solo exhibition at Deitch Projects in May 2010, Shepard Fairey’s Flag combines the wheat paste collage style of his widely-recognized outdoor murals with the fine detailing of his earlier HPMs (hand-painted multiples). A collection of symbols compose the stars on this re-imagined American flag, which speaks to the artist’s ability to inspire passion and incite unity through his work. A version of this work was featured in the artist’s first solo exhibition at the ICA Boston.

How would Al Hirschfeld capture the 2016 presidential candidates? With his calligraphic slinky black lines, he developed one of the most innovative and iconic visual languages. The flight and fancy of his playful portrait aptly taps into our political climate, but is also a classic and quintessential as the word “Nina” is cleverly veiled by the folds of the stage curtain.

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