Michael Krebber, Perfect Damn, Wasn’t That a Great Surprise?, 2002. Lacquer on canvas. 78 3/4 x 63 in. (200 x 160 cm.) Estimate: £20,000-30,000. This work is offered in the First Open/LDN sale on 23 September at Christie’s South Kensington
Bianca Chu: Michael Krebber appears to deliberately avoid one signature style, and his ability to constantly re-invent his medium — painting and sculpture — explains his long and respected career as part of the Cologne and Frankfurt academic community, and why he is widely regarded as an ‘artist’s artist’.
Krebber, who was born in 1954, has been active since the late Eighties, with his contemporaries including Martin Kippenberger and Albert Oehlen. Kippenberger stayed with Krebber in Tenerife in 1984, six years before beginning his guest professorship at the Städelschule, Frankfurt am Main, where Krebber is currently a professor.
The landscape of contemporary art has changed since Kippenberger died in March 1997, as Krebber acknowledges: ‘New constellations have formed…Art is seen in a different way that it was in the 1980s. I myself see it differently’ (I. Graw, ‘Michael Krebber’s Perspective’, in Kaleidoscope, Winter 2012/2013). This change includes the influence of the internet and the change in perception of how art is experienced, digested and disseminated.
The present work has a classically ironic title: Perfect Damn, Wasn’t that a Great Surprise? It feels particularly ‘contemporary’ in the sense that Krebber remains a key influencer of the new generation of artists working today. Minimal, optical, and intellectualising, it is easy to see how Krebber remains central to discussions on painting.
Alex Israel (b. 1982), Untitled (Flat), 2013. Acrylic on stucco on panel with aluminum frame.
66 x 42 in. (167.6 x 106.7 cm.) Estimate: $150,000-200,000. This work will be offered in the First Open/NYC sale on 30 September at Christie’s in New York
Han-I Wang: Untitled (Flat), 2013, comes from the artist’s series of Flats, with the title referring to the backgrounds in theatre or film sets.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Alex Israel’s oeuvre reflects and comments upon Hollywood dream and reality, and the city remains one of the main subjects of his artistic output. The present work has a shimmering oval surface as the colors blended together, creating a heavenly rendition.
Nairy Baghramian, Untitled. Steel and rubber. 22½ x 24 x 16 in. (57.2 x 61 x 40.6 cm.). Estimate: £3,000-4,000. This work is offered in the First Open/LDN sale on 23 September at Christie’s South Kensington
Bianca Chu: Recently included in Danh Vo’s curated show at Punta Della Dogana, Nairy Baghramian is a fascinating Iranian-Armenian artist whose multimedia and often collaborative practice includes sculpture, drawing and photography.
Her work explores, amongst many subjects, the political elements of interiors and architecture (often from the tradition of Modernism) and the relationship with the body and identity. Her sculptures can often appear almost anthropomorphic in nature.
The Berlin-based artist has had exhibited widely and internationally already with shows at the Serpentine Gallery with Phyllida Barlow in 2010, Studio Voltaire in London in 2009, and Kunsthalle Basel in 2006, amongst others.
Pat Steir (b. 1938), Sea of Japan, 1995. Oil on canvas. 83 1/2 x 83 1/2 in. (212 x 212 cm.) Estimate: $70,000-90,000. This work will be offered in the First Open/NYC sale on 30 September at Christie’s in New York
Han-I Wang: Pat Steir’s work is super dynamic and she comes to her own ‘drip’ style by challenging the hegemony of Jackson Pollock. Deeply influenced by John Cage and Agnes Martin, Steir formulates a perfect synergy between her unique understanding of humanity and nature.
In Sea of Japan, Steir’s drip style together with pours of black and dark blue washes encompass a perfect blending of the Eastern and Western aesthetics. The red paint drip marks at the center functions as the a single light source guiding the human race through the abyss.
Sara Van der Beek
Sara Vanderbeek, A Different Kind of Idol, 2006. C-print. 20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.6 cm.) This work is artist proof number two from an edition of three plus two artist’s proofs. Estimate: £2,000-3,000. This work is offered in the First Open/LDN sale on 23 September at Christie’s South Kensington
Bianca Chu: American artist Sara Vandeerbeek comes from an artistic family: her father, Stan Vanderbeek is an experimental filmmaker and a contemporary of John Cage and Merce Cunningham who he met whilst studying at the Black Mountain College in North Carolina; her brother is a contemporary sculptor represented by Zach Feuer gallery in New York.
Combining sculpture and photography, Vanderbeek creates beautiful and surreal assemblages from, according to Frieze Magazine, ‘art history, American culture, her father’s archive and of her own making’. Recalling the surreal and uncanny images of Man Ray or the assemblages of Joseph Cornell, the present work, A Different Kind Of Idol, presents an accumulation of memories, capturing and referencing elements of her life in an autobiographical way.
Vandeerbeek has a solo exhibition at the Baltimore Museum of Art that runs until 20 September, while previous solo exhibitions include a Metro Pictures exhibition in 2013 and at the Approach in London in 2012.
Jonas Wood (b. 1977), B-ball 59, 2008. Acrylic and ink on paper. 14 x 14 in. (35.6 x 35.6 cm.) Estimate: $6,000-8,000. This work will be offered in the First Open/NYC sale on 30 September at Christie’s in New York
Han-I Wang: Jonas Wood is one of the most exciting artists in our generation. His works provide an interesting angle by making everyday subject better look better than ever.
Wood draws direct stylistic reference to masters such as Henry Rousseau, David Henry and Alice Neel where the reality has been strictly flattened onto the canvas without any further disguise. Wood’s works have a genuine sensibility that appeals a wide range of audiences.
Sanja Ivekovic, Novi Zagreb (Ljudi iza prozora) (New Zagreb (People Behind The Windows), 1979 (Executed in 2006). Photo-collage digital print. 28 1/2 x 39 in. (72.5 x 100 cm.) This work is artist proof number three from an edition of ten plus five artist’s proofs. Estimate: £7,000-9,000. This work is offered in the First Open/LDN sale on 23 September at Christie’s South Kensington
Bianca Chu: Born in 1949, and a lifelong feminist and activist, the multidisciplinary Croatian artist Sanja Ivekovic has been continuously exploring the crossroads of art, politics and social change.
From her early performances and videos made in the 1970s, such as Sweet Violence from 1974 (also the title of her major retrospective at MoMA in New York in 2011), to her iconic collages, and later drawings and photographs, Ivekovic’s artwork continues to explore and question gender roles, the origin of identity, consumerist and social behaviour, amongst other subjects.
Deeply ingrained in the native art scene of Croatia, Ivekovic has undoubtedly influenced artists working today. Whether it is her unforgiving method of appropriation or her cutting political satire, she is an artist that will continue to make her mark on contemporary art history.
R.H. Quaytman (b. 1961), iamb, Chapter 12, 2008. Silkscreen inks and gesso on wood. 20 x 32 3/8 in. (50.8 x 82.2 cm.) Estimate: $80,000-120,000. This work will be offered in the First Open/NYC sale on 30 September at Christie’s in New York
Han-I Wang: Quaytman’s works are timeless and often present an optical illusion, a technical feat that dazzles and morphs with the movement of the viewer’s eye. With its mesmerizing effect, the work makes more than a pure reference to the languages of Op Art and Constructivism.
With works held in major permanent collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York and Tate, London, R.H. Quaytman holds a strong position on the map of contemporary art. The artist has foregrounded abstraction as fundamental to the ongoing development of visual language, creating a perfect optical illusion that surpasses many of her predecessors.
Richard Hawkins, Wrath of the Underworld, 2004. Oil and acrylic on canvas. 60 x 48 in. (152.5 x 122 cm.) Estimate: £4,000-6,000. This work is offered in the First Open/LDN sale on 23 September at Christie’s South Kensington
Bianca Chu: Richard Hawkins’ artistic career has taken many turns and witnessed numerous reinventions. For me, this is what makes him one of the most interesting artists working today.
Since his first exhibitions in the early 1990s, Hawkins has continuously found methods of creating fresh and inquisitive and diverse art. A recent retrospective of his work at the Tate Liverpool, entitled Hijikata Twist, referenced Japanese artist Tatsumi Hijikata (1928–1986) and his conception of butoh, a surreal mode of performance developed during the 1960s.
Whilst his early work is generally dominated by collages populated with images of film stars, porn stars and male models — described as a ‘mash-up of avant-garde, kink and kitsch’, his paintings show a complete twist in medium and subject matter, exploring other obscure aspects of American society, such as research into the beliefs and practices, and the assimilation and annihilation of First Nation Americans.
Born in Texas and based in Los Angeles, Hawkins’ work is held by the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art and the Art Institute of Chicago, among others.
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