modern art auction house
June 6, 2018
Subtle and ethereal, several works in the June 10, 2018 Modern Art & Design auction appear almost minimalist in nature. However, the works by Mary Corse, Larry Bell, and Helen Pashgian each have an underlying complexity that has taken decades to perfect.
March 30, 2018
In honor of National Women’s History Month, Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA) spotlights five stellar women artists whose potent work and individual practices celebrate womanhood and female autonomy, call into question responses to gender parity, and transcend traditional conceptions of gender identity to address broader issues surrounding diversity, inclusion, and tolerance for all humans.
March 28, 2018
Over the course of his long career, John Baldessari has expressed a deep infatuation with the relationship between the semantics of the written word and those inherent to visual language. His work often addresses the ways in which various visual and verbal codes both enable and destabilize modes of communication and meaning-making. “Words and imagery are both magical conveyors of meaning,” he once explained. In the upcoming June 10, 2018 auction, we are delighted to have the opportunity to include the complete set of five lithographs, which Baldessari created in response to Laurence Sterne’s classical, eighteenth-century masterwork, “The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman.”
February 20, 2018
A movement of movement, kinetic art has been in a state of evolution from its nascence. The wide range of works featured in our February 25, 2018 Modern Art and Design Auction that feature kinetic elements is a testament to this ongoing evolution.
February 14, 2018
When Cy Twombly’s work first emerged in the early 1950s many critics scoffed at the deeply expressive gestures, scribbles, drips, and scratches that have come to firmly secure his place as one of the most innovative artists of the 20th century. “My line is childlike but not childish,” the artist once offered in response to criticism pegging his work as simplistic and lacking in clear technique. “It is very difficult to fake … to get that quality you need to project yourself into the child’s line. It has to be felt.” The emotional caliber of Twombly’s elegantly orchestrated compositions is palpable. Chock-full of fluid starts and stops, erasures, and replacements, which all lend a manuscript-like quality to his canvases. And while the same highly animated, lyrical scribbles and gestural scratches might be evocative of graffiti, Twombly himself shied away from such identification. “Graffiti is linear and it’s done with a pencil, and it’s like writing on walls. But in my paintings it’s more lyrical,” he explained.
February 9, 2018
In the autumn of 1967 Frederick Hammersley gave a series of lectures in Claremont, California in which he laid out and elaborated on what he considered to be the seven essential elements of the painter’s language: shape, line, value, color, form, pattern, and texture. Over the course of these talks, Hammersley continually returned to the importance of shape above the other elements. “Of all the tools – shape – I feel is needed before you can do anything else,” he asserted. “Value, color, pattern and the rest cannot exist unless there is an edge where they begin and end. This edge of the shape, this boundary can be of many different kinds, either clearly defined, or soft and vague. The character of the edge can either emphasize or reduce, but it never destroys the shape.”
February 7, 2018
When Brooklyn-based artist Nicole Eisenman’s bold, idiosyncratic work first hit the walls of New York galleries in the early nineties, no one knew how to respond. Was it a feminist revision of art history? A disruptive “queering” of trite scenes culled from popular cartoons and commercial culture? A satirical psychoanalytical take on the monstrousness of public and private human experience? The answer, it turns out, was all of the above and then some. With its unique blend of lucid and imaginative elements, and gloriously awkward merging of the banal with the absurd, her 1992 Bacon-esque portrait Jew Drag King eludes simple categorization. The work is an inversion of mainstream conventions synthesized with counterculture lifestyles, creating a figurative language distinct to Eisenman.
February 3, 2018
In 1964, Israeli Op artist Yaacov Agam laid out his artistic credo. His statement detailed how he began producing the kinetic and optical art for which he is now so widely known. “My intention was to create a work of art which would transcend the visible, which cannot be perceived except in stages, with the understanding that it is a partial revelation and not the perpetuation of the existing,” he explained. Often called the “Father of kinetic art,” Agam’s vibrant, dynamic works demonstrate an ongoing preoccupation with time and movement, teasing out allusions to fourth dimension where time is both regulated and made visible. “For twenty years, I tried, and finally I understood, the image must be something that becomes, not something that is,” he recounted in 1971. “Where is truth, where is the true order? The only truth is the truth of states of being, and the passage of time which destroys itself.”