Peter’s Auction Pick of the Day: Los Angeles Landmarks

October 17, 2017

Los Angeles wasn’t always the art hub that it is today and if it weren’t for a clutch of tenacious artists working from the 1960s on, today’s art scene may never have come to fruition. Working in different media, artists such as Billy Al Bengston, Ed Ruscha, Judy Chicago, Ken Price, and Charles Arnoldi paved the way for others in developing a distinctly West Coast aesthetic that drew inspiration from, and wryly commented on, life in the City of Angels.

In The 25th Anniversary Auction, Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA) is delighted to have the opportunity to offer works by each of these legendary artists whose work laid the foundation for Los Angeles’s now thriving art market, as well as the unmistakably West Coast idiom now associated with the city.

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAM)

Lot 90, Ken Price, Astronauts in the Ocean, 1960-1961
October 22, 2017 Modern Art & Design Auction

Created in the same year as Ken Price’s first solo show at Ferus Gallery, Astronauts in the Ocean (1960-1961) is an early and important work by the artist. Still primarily working in ceramics at this point, Price started to experiment in his painting style, moving away from glazes towards applying paint directly to the dried piece. Astronauts in the Ocean demonstrates Price’s synthesis of his time studying under Peter Voulkos, admiration of the Bauhaus, and the desire to push the boundaries of ceramics and sculpture.  I am thrilled to present such an iconic work by Ken Price, one that has such an impressive exhibition history including LACMA, the Nasher Sculpture Garden, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Lot 258, Billy Al Bengston, Untitled (Dento), 1969
October 22, 2017 Modern Art & Design Auction

A contemporary and friend of Price, Billy Al Bengston burst onto the scene in the 1950s with his striking paintings and sculptures informed by spectacular geometric shapes, as well as his passion for motorcycles and car-detailing techniques. Bengston’s work, like that of other artists working in the early days of the L.A. art scene, helped redefine the parameters of artistic output during the early 1960s by infusing his work with subcultural references and themes drawn from popular, often decidedly lowbrow sources, as found in his 1969 lacquer and polyester-resin-on-aluminum work Untitled (Dento).

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Lot 244, Ed Ruscha, Made in California, 1971
October 22, 2017 Modern Art & Design

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Lot 243, Ed Ruscha, Mocha Standard, 1969
October 22, 2017 Modern Art & Design

Ed Ruscha’s saturated prints, such as his iconic 1971 Made in California 
and 1969 Mocha Standard — both to be offered in our upcoming auction — elevated the ordinary to the sublime in a completely new aesthetic containing equal doses of exuberance and pathos. The Standard station is one of Ruscha’s most recognizable images, which was inspired by the artist’s cross-country drive to Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Lot 256, Judy Chicago, Pasadena Lifesavers Yellow #5, 1969-1970
October 22, 2017 Modern Art & Design

Judy Chicago moved to Los Angeles in the early 1960s and was, at that time, creating minimalist works. Pasadena Lifesavers Yellow #5 (1969-1970) came out of a liminal point in Chicago’s career as she was shifting away from minimalism into a more explicit vernacular of feminist art. This striking painting was made through an airbrushing technique that the artist learned after signing up for auto-body school.

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Lot 251, Charles Arnoldi, Peninsula, 1986
October 22, 2017 Modern Art & Design

Charles (Chuck) Arnoldi’s 1986 Peninsula, blurs the boundaries between painting and sculpture.  In the 1970s and 1980s Arnoldi worked with wood, often using a chainsaw to create the deconstructed aesthetic we see in this work. Peninsula is a dynamic and bold piece that functions simultaneously as a painting, wall sculpture, and architectural element.

Although dramatically distinct from one another, each of these works profoundly contributed to L.A.’s burgeoning art scene by pushing the envelope in terms of which subjects could be seen as appropriate studies for works of art and which materials were suitable for artistic expression.

Lot Information:

Lot 90
Ken Price
Astronauts in the Ocean
Painted ceramic in a wood box construction
Signed, titled, and dated to underside of box
Ceramic: 5″ x 3.375″ diameter; Box: 10.75″ x 5.5″ x 4″; (Ceramic: 13 x 9 cm)
Provenance: Private Collection, Los Angeles, California (acquired through Sotheby’s, New York, February 26, 1994, lot 285)
Exhibited: “Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective,” traveling exhibition, LACMA, Los Angeles, September 16, 2012-January 6, 2013; Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, February 9-May 12, 2013; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, June 18-September 22, 2013
Illustrated: Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective. LACMA exh. cat. 2012. 152-153, 218.
Estimate: $200,000 – $300,000

Click here to see all lots by Ken Price

Lot 258
Billy Al Bengston
Untitled (Dento)
Lacquer and polyester resin on aluminum
#13 of 20
Indented initials upper center; etched initials, date, and edition “30 A.B./1969/13/20″ lower center
36″ x 34”; (91 x 86 cm)
Estimate: $10,000 – $15,000

Click here to see all lots by Billy Al Bengston

Lot 244
Ed Ruscha
Made in California
3-color lithograph on Arches paper
#10 of 100
Published by Grunwald Graphic Arts Foundation, University of California, Los Angeles; printed by Cirrus Editions, Los Angeles
Initialed and dated with edition in graphite lower left sheet
Image/sheet: 20″ x 28″; Frame: 23.25″ x 31.25″; (Image/sheet: 51 x 71 cm)
LAMA would like to thank the Ed Ruscha Studio for their assistance in cataloguing this work
Literature: Edward Ruscha: Editions, 1959-1999: Catalogue Raisonné. 1st ed. Vol. II. S. Engberg and C. Phillpot. 1999. #52.; Made in LA: The Prints of Cirrus Editions. B. Davis. 1995. 340.
Estimate: $30,000 – $40,000

Lot 243
Ed Ruscha
Mocha Standard
8-color screenprint on paper
#72 of 100
Published by the artist; printed by Jean Milant and Daniel Socha, Hollywood
Signed and dated with edition in graphite lower left margin beneath image; retains Brooke Alexander Gallery label verso
Image: 19.5″ x 36.75″; Sheet (vis.): 20.75″ x 37.875″; Frame: 29.875″ x 46.75″; (Image: 50 x 93 cm)
Literature: Edward Ruscha: Editions, 1959-1999: Catalogue Raisonné. 1st ed. Vol. II. S. Engberg and C. Phillpot. 1999. #30.
Estimate: $50,000 – $70,000

Click here to see all lots by Ed Ruscha

Lot 256
Judy Chicago
Pasadena Lifesavers Yellow #5
Sprayed acrylic lacquer on clear acrylic sheet with white Plexiglas
Acrylic sheet (vis.): 58.875″ x 58.875″; Frame: 59.625″ x 59.625″; (Acrylic sheet: 150 x 150 cm)
Exhibited: “Judy Chicago,” California State University, Fullerton, October 23-November 25, 1970
Estimate: $40,000 – $60,000

Lot 251
Charles Arnoldi
Acrylic and wood chunks on plywood
Signed “Arnoldi” and dated verso; retains Charles Arnoldi Studio label verso
57″ x 112″ x 9″; (145 x 284 x 23 cm)
Estimate: $30,000 – $50,000

Click here to see all lots by Charles Arnoldi

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