LAMA BLOG

LAMA Unsold May 2015

LAMA’s May 17, 2015 Modern Art & Design Auction was a rousing success with battling bidders, new world record auction prices, and total sales of $3 million. It’s not too late to join the fun, as several important and highly collectible works by the greatest names in modern and contemporary fine art and design are still available for purchase. Peter Loughrey, LAMA’s director and curator of the auction, has chosen six pieces from this group to highlight—masterful works of art by Agnes Martin, Cindy Sherman, and Jenny Holzer; as well as seminal designs by Rudolph M. Schindler, Hans Wegner, and ceramists Gertrud and Otto Natzler.

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Lot 167 Alexander Calder Quatre Blancs 1976

The house was buzzing at the May 17 auction when Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA) realized prices identical to New York auction house results for similar works by Alexander Calder, Andy Warhol, and Pablo Picasso. The top lot was an impressive standing mobile by Alexander Calder that brought $826,250. Additionally, LAMA broke three world auction records for California artists (previously set by LAMA), proving it is the maker of markets as made evident with total auction sales for Sunday’s auction realizing $3 million, selling 119% of the 310 lots by value.

“We are continuing to show the marketplace that sellers no longer have to ship their modern art to New York to get the highest price,” states Peter Loughrey, director of LAMA. “Whether it’s $1,000 or $1,000,000, sellers can get the same price in Los Angeles.”

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LAMA Auction May 17, 2015

The May 17, 2015 Modern Art & Design Auction will begin tomorrow at 12 p.m. (Pacific Time). Here are some helpful tips to prepare you for Sunday’s big event.

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LAMA-DrawtheLine-PeterPick-May2015-1

From Peter Loughrey, Director of Modern Design & Fine Art:

After reviewing the amazing, varied artwork in our May 17th auction at LAMA, I started thinking about lines. We are taught to think of a line as a fixed thing: a barrier, a boundary, or something we don’t want to cross. But a line can mean motion–the path from point A to point B–movement in space. A line, really, denotes a kind of energy. Artists know this. Looking through the lots in our upcoming auction, it’s quite striking to observe the different ways they explore this idea. Here are four artists who draw the line: Brice Marden, Alan Saret, De Wain Valentine, and Agnes Martin, with five enigmatic, beautiful lots.

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Otis College Ceramics, Los Angeles Modern Auctions, May 17, 2015 Auction

The Los Angeles County Art Institute, which became the Otis College of Art and Design, was at the center of ceramic’s evolution as an artistic medium in America. In 1954 Peter Voulkos became head of its ceramics department. He brought with him energy, strength and a bold streak influenced by Abstract Expressionism–all new elements for the discipline. The kilns at Otis College became the launching pad for the new ceramic artistry. Voulkos’s students and colleagues joined the signal artistic movements of the sixties and seventies.

From Peter Loughrey, Director of Modern Design:

Ceramics came into its own as a fine art form in the 1950s. Clay had been regarded as a second-class medium–more artisanal than artistic.

The crucible of that change was the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, in the ceramics studio headed by Peter Voulkos. LAMA’s May 17th auction includes a wonderful group of lots featuring the work of Voulkos and his colleagues and students–every significant artist at the heart of that revolution, including Paul Soldner, John Mason, Henry Takemoto, Ken Price, and Billy Al Bengston.

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 Alexander Calder, Quatre Blancs, 1976, LAMA Auction May 17, 2015

Los Angeles Modern Auctions is pleased to offer an outstanding sculpture by Alexander Calder: Lot 167, Quatre Blancs (1976), on offer at our May 17 auction. Alexander Calder (1898–1976), a modernist master known for revolutionizing abstract sculpture and originating kinetic art mobiles, lived much of his professional life between France and the East Coast. He spent a pivotal time during his youth, however, in California and the Los Angeles area in particular. Indeed, from Northern California to Southern California, across the state, stand many of Calder’s commissions and public sculptures.

From Peter Loughrey, Director of Modern Design & Fine Art:

This standing mobile is a prime example of Calder’s artistic genius. The substantial size, the simple construction, the elegant balance, and the primary colors–Quatre Blancs shows Calder’s masterful ability to distill his life’s work into a simple gesture. Although we think of Calder in terms of Paris and the East Coast, he spent a few years of his boyhood in Southern California and, as he suggests in his autobiography, the experience affected him profoundly.

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Andy Warhol, Campbell’s Soup I, 1968

From Peter Loughrey, Director of Modern Design & Fine Art:

There are a few rare examples of artwork that have gained historical relevance far beyond the creator’s expectations. I find this portfolio to be one of those cases.

Los Angeles Modern Auctions is pleased to offer Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup I, a 1968 limited edition portfolio of ten silkscreen prints on paper, at the May 17 Modern Art & Design Auction. Campbell’s Soup I is a major work in the Andy Warhol canon. In these prints, Warhol returned to the subject of his first solo show as an artist and to that which made his name: Campbell’s Soup Cans, a group of 32 silkscreened paintings on canvas with hand-lettering (now in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York). The 1968 Soup Cans prints here represent a refinement of that work. With the use of the mechanical silkscreen technique, he removed the direct hand of the artist from the artistic process. After Warhol, artists would be seen not only as makers of compelling objects such as painting and sculpture, but also as makers of ideas.

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Chris Burden

We at LAMA were saddened to hear of Chris Burden’s passing yesterday morning, Sunday May 10, in Los Angeles. Since 1969 Burden lived in Southern California–first he studied at Pomona College in Claremont, and then he received his MFA from the University of California, Irvine. With a familial and childhood background in science and engineering, and having studied courses in architecture at Pomona College, Burden went on to make big, powerful, and sometimes kinetic installations. In LACMA’s entry plaza stands Urban Light (2008), 202 antique cast-iron street lamps in the form of a Classical Greek temple. It has become a much-beloved symbol of the city. Los Angeles will miss Chris Burden.

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