Rob Pruitt, ‘Untitled’, 2011, Phillips

From the Catalogue:
As one of the art world’s most admired provocateurs, Rob Pruitt has walked the thin line between controversy and playfulness since the beginning of his career in the early 1990s to create beguiling works that deliver something between criticism and celebration of the art world. The glistening, large-scale paintings of giant woolly pandas, first shown in 2000, represent the artist’s best-known series. Rendered in the artist’s infamous glitter and enamel medium, Untitled presents one of Pruitt’s great pandas in a costume form. Accentuating Pruitt’s ongoing signature investigation of the spectacular, the present lot depicts the panda-costume’s wearer caught mid-performance on a stage against a psychedelic black and white curtain-like backdrop. With its tiny button mouth and wide-eyed expression, this panda is just as stunned as the viewer in reaction to Pruitt’s unrelenting shock tactics.

Untitled, produced in the spirit of Marcel Duchamp and Andy Warhol, serves as an emblem of Pruitt’s wide-ranging practice that in itself presents a kind of ongoing performance mocking and praising our received wisdom regarding fame and celebrity. Regarding the excesses of contemporary culture that have become his medium, Pruitt explains, “on the one hand I want to celebrate it, because it’s who we are and on the other hand I want to condemn it,” he said. “I think it’s always like a Ping-Pong match for me” (Rob Pruitt quoted in Randy Kennedy, "A Penitent Reflects on the Wilderness," New York Times, September 15, 2010). The visual tropes of Pruitt’s pandas have migrated from folk culture to the contemporary avant-garde where they are made even more fantastic and graphically seductive than their natural-world counterpart. Describing his own work as populist, Pruitt explains, “I’ve really enjoyed letting the world know that not everything is so mystified or so regulated to expertise—that you can make something really beautiful with a little ingenuity and some supplies from Michaels [craft shop]” (Rob Pruitt by James Franco, "Rob Pruitt," Interview Magazine, September 29, 2009). Pruitt pokes fun at the art world while comfortably sitting at the table with its elite.
Courtesy of Phillips

Signature: signed and dated 'Rob Pruitt 2011' on the stretcher

Luxembourg & Dayan, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner

About Rob Pruitt

Rob Pruitt blends a Pop sensibility with witty critiques of the art world. For his Art Awards (2009 and 2010), one of his more conceptual projects, Pruitt presented awards at the Guggenheim Museum in the manner of the Academy Awards; 101 Art Ideas You Can Do Yourself (2001) was a set of DIY ideas for art making, like "make a leaf out of paper and tape it to a tree" or "sell a collector a key to your house." In 2011, Pruitt made The Andy Monument, a ten-foot-tall silver statue of Andy Warhol presented as a public artwork in New York's Union Square.

American, b. 1964, Washington, D.C., based in New York, New York

Solo Shows

I ♥ Père Lachaise Cemetery

Group Shows

New York,
Shrines to Speed Art And The Automobile: From The Minimal To The Postmodern

Fair History on Artsy

Massimo De Carlo at Art Basel 2013
Massimo De Carlo at Art Basel Hong Kong 2013
Massimo de Carlo at The Armory Show 2013