On Sunday, LAMA set a new company record, selling a single work for the highest price in the company’s 23-year history; Richard Prince’s Bedtime Story (1988) from the seminal Monochromatic Jokes paintings series realized $1.585 million. LAMA additionally set world auction records for artists and designers Mary Corse, Fred Eversley, John Lautner, James Gill, Steve Roden, and Joe Brainard. LAMA realized $5 million in total auction sales on February 21, selling 116% of the 419 lots by value. “Record-setting prices have convinced some important collectors to act locally instead of sending works to New York, which used to be the norm,” stated Peter Loughrey, Director of Modern Design & Fine Art. “The Richard Prince sale underscores our growing strength in the field of contemporary art and demonstrates LAMA’s ability to offer West Coast collectors expanded opportunities to buy and sell.”
We tend to think of artistic creativity as a solo act. In the popular imagination, a painter or sculptor works alone in a studio, driven by singular personal genius. Several lots in LAMA’s February 21st sale of modern art, however, demonstrate how frequently art is the result of collaboration. Many of these are examples of technical cooperation. Others arise from friendly participation in a project. But a few works represent a true synthesis of creative minds. Of these, one name recurs: Frank O’Hara. LAMA’s upcoming auction features several collaborative artworks, including four pieces made in collaboration with O’Hara.
Joe Brainard developed an odd and appealing personal iconography. One of the most prolific and protean figures in the American art and literary world of the 1960s and 1970s, he worked in a range of artistic mediums that included oil painting and drawing, but is best known for his collage and assemblage pieces. Of Brainard critic Bruce Hainley wrote, “His little books of drawings and writings can be placed snugly next to Edward Ruscha’s [books]: both reveal the genius of fearlessly pursuing a banal idea with single-minded thoroughness.”