With a name drawn from the 1996 Spice Girls pièce de résistance, as processed through the lens of art theorist Jan Verwoert's writings, Bonhams' contemporary art auction this Tuesday promises to be composed of many layers from the inception. The viewing is accompanied by a full-size ping pong table and a bleacher stand made of trophies by L.A. artist Ry Rocklen, including a preformance art component where two professional ping pong players wage war with their paddles. Another self-referential component: buyers will also wage war with eachother (in a slightly less athletic manner) with Ry Rocklen designed ping pong paddles used during the buying competition.
Flaunt had a chance to catch up with Dane Jensen, Bonhams' Director of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, who disclosed a few of his favorite pieces from the upcoming auction event.
Lot 258. MAURIZIO CATTELAN. "The 1:6 Wrong Gallery," (2005).
Jensen: "Maurizio Cattelan and two gallerists collaborated to make the world's smallest gallery, Cattelan was a famous prankster, there was always an element of levity in all of his works. Cattelan made this gallery in Chelsea, and it was a real gallery that was programmed, but it was 18 inches high. And then they made this larger edition of it, and you can open the door, it has all these scuff marks on the outside of it."
Lot 230. ALMIR DA SILVA MAVIGNIER. "Durchdringung grün auf blau (Penetration of green to blue)," (1977).
Jensen: "What's really exciting about these artists is that you don't see their work in the states. Mavignier was part of the op art movement, but he was also part of the Zero Group, this very experimental group that had preformance-based pieces, Yves Klein was part of it, and this blue is an Yves Klein blue. If you think of our world being dominated by screens, this takes it back to its roots."
Lot 201. CLAES OLDENBURG. "Untitled (View Over Canyon)," (1969).
From Maurice Tuchman's personal collection, Maurice founded the Modern Art Department at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in 1964 and was the the curator of LACMA for 30 years. Oldenberg's piece, “View Over Canyon,” is a reverse image of the landscape from the view from Tuchman's Astral House and has been in his home for over 40 years.
Lot 228. ABRAHAM PALATNIK. "Untitled (Prototype for Kinechromatic device)," (circa 1955).
Jensen: "This Kinechromatic device, he made 30 of them, he would build them himself, you just turn them on, they're fully motorized, and they cycle through all these different psychadelic colors and images, that's why I say it has more relationship with video, but this is almost more interesting to me because there's a clear and conscious effort by him to think about what's beyond painting, in the fifties."
Lot 229W. ABRAHAM PALATNIK. "Progressão 66-A," (1965).
Jensen: "This is an optically-driven work, like a Bridgett Riley painting, but it's completely made of wood, and he had this epiphanal moment when he was looking at discarded wood on the floor of a woodshop, and thinking about how a woodgrain is basically an archive of information that's assembled by a tree. Trees take in atmospheric information from its leaves, it takes in nutrients from the soil, and all of that is recorded in the wood. And there's a temporal element, we have one ring for every year, and it's like a computer basically, and then he's reorganizing what nature has organized in a way to think about contemporary society."
Lot 232. ALAN RATH. "Scanner VI," (2003).
Jensen: "[Alan Rath] writes the program that produces this image, but what's really crazy is that the eye changes over long durations, and he's programed that in, so that two years from now it'll look really different, and ten years from now it'll look really different. As per Alan, he didn't want to give away all the programming secrets, but he did mention that his program operates on a calender, and displays something other than an eye at the beginning of the seasons. Since yesterday was the vernal equinox it displayed only words relating to spring or rebirth. Today it is back to the eye."
Tell Me What You Want (What You Really, Really Want) happens this Tuesday, March 31.