What Sold at Art Basel in Hong Kong
8-contemporaries signed this copy at the 1993 Gemini Publication Release Party:
• Jonathan Borofsky
• Sidney B.Felsen (Founder Gemini G.E.L.)
• Ellsworth Kelly
• Roy Lichtenstein
• Malcolm Morley
• Claes Oldenburg
• Robert Rauschenberg
• Mark Rosenthal (Curator Guggenheim Museum)
Publisher: Gemini G.E.L.
Provenance: Private Collection, NY
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Robert Rauschenberg’s enthusiasm for popular culture and, with his contemporary Jasper Johns, his rejection of the angst and seriousness of the Abstract Expressionists led him to search for a new way of painting. A prolific innovator of techniques and mediums, he used unconventional art materials ranging from dirt and house paint to umbrellas and car tires. In the early 1950s, Rauschenberg was already gaining a reputation as the art world’s enfant terrible with works such as Erased de Kooning Drawing (1953), for which he requested a drawing (as well as permission) from Willem de Kooning, and proceeded to rub away the image until only ghostly marks remained on the paper. By 1954, Rauschenberg completed his first three-dimensional collage paintings—he called them Combines—in which he incorporated discarded materials and mundane objects to explore the intersection of art and life. “I think a picture is more like the real world when it’s made out of the real world,” he said. In 1964 he became the first American to win the International Grand Prize in Painting at the Venice Biennale. The 1/4 Mile or Two Furlong Piece (1981–98), a cumulative artwork, embodies his spirit of eclecticism, comprising a retrospective overview of his many discrete periods, including painting, fabric collage, sculptural components made from cardboard and scrap metal, as well as a variety of image transfer and printing methods.
American, 1925-2008, Port Arthur, Texas, based in New York and Captiva Island, Florida
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Since the beginning of his career, Ellsworth Kelly's emphasis on pure form and color and his impulse to suppress gesture in favor of creating spatial unity have played a pivotal role in the development of abstract art in America. A major influence on Pop Art, Minimalism, hard-edge and color field painting, Ellsworth Kelly’s best-known works are distinguished by sharply delineated shapes flatly painted in vivid color, such as Colors for a Large Wall (1951). His abstract paintings are inspired by the interplay of light, space, and color in the architecture around him. In contrast, Kelly’s automatic drawings feature delicate outlines of bodies and flora.
American, 1923-2015, Newburgh, New York, based in New York, New York
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When American Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein painted Look Mickey in 1961, it set the tone for his career. This primary-color portrait of the cartoon mouse introduced Lichtenstein’s detached and deadpan style at a time when introspective Abstract Expressionism reigned. Mining material from advertisements, comics, and the everyday, Lichtenstein brought what was then a great taboo—commercial art—into the gallery. He stressed the artificiality of his images by painting them as though they’d come from a commercial press, with the flat, single-color Ben-Day dots of the newspaper meticulously rendered by hand using paint and stencils. Later in his career, Lichtenstein extended his source material to art history, including the work of Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso, and experimented with three-dimensional works. Lichtenstein’s use of appropriated imagery has influenced artists such as Richard Prince, Jeff Koons, and Raymond Pettibon.
American, 1923-1997, New York, New York, based in New York and Southampton, New York
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British artist Malcolm Morley is best known for his hyperreal paintings and sculptures that pull subject matter from Old Masters, family portraits, current events, travel brochures, and other visual detritus. Using a grid system to transfer the images onto canvas—reminiscent of the Minimalist grid—he also transfers the borders, tears, and folds in order to foreground the objecthood of the image. Of his attempt to move beyond the strictures of photorealism, Morley says, “I make a handmade painting from a readymade.” Dissatisfied with merely reproducing the image, he draws from the vivid colors of Pop Art and collage techniques to further draw attention to the image as an object.
British, 1931-2018, London, United Kingdom, based in New York, New York
“I am for an art that is political-erotical-mystical, that does something more than sit on its ass in a museum,” wrote Claes Oldenburg in his seminal 1961 manifesto I Am For An Art. From his Happenings beginning in the 1960s, to his enormous public sculptures of ice cream and rubber stamps, to his collaboration with his wife Coosje van Bruggen, Oldenburg has remained at the forefront of the Conceptual and Pop art movements. He has worked in a variety of mediums including performance, drawing, and writing, though he is best known for his large glossy or soft sculptures of ordinary consumer items, such as Lipstick (Ascending) on Caterpillar Tracks (1969-74). Some of Oldenburg’s most radical works remain in the realm of concept, as in his proposal for Thames Ball (1967)—a giant toilet tank ball that would have floated on the Thames River. “I am for an art that grows up not knowing it is art at all,” he wrote. “I am for an artist who vanishes.”
Swedish, b. 1929, Stockholm, Sweden, based in New York, New York
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