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This lot will be removed to our storage facility a… Read more PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED AMERICAN COLLECTION

Forever 21

Forever 21
signed and dated 'Dana Schutz 2019' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
91 x 84in. (231 x 213cm.)
Painted in 2019
Petzel Gallery, New York.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2019.
Special notice

This lot will be removed to our storage facility at Momart. Christie’s will inform you if the lot has been sent offsite. Our removal and storage of the lot is subject to the terms and conditions of storage which can be found at Christies.com/storage and our fees for storage are set out in the table below - these will apply whether the lot remains with Christie’s or is removed elsewhere. Please call Christie’s Client Service 24 hours in advance to book a collection time at Momart. All collections from Momart will be by pre-booked appointment only. Tel: +44 (0)20 7839 9060 Email: cscollectionsuk@christies.com. If the lot remains at Christie’s it will be available for collection on any working day 9.00 am to 5.00 pm. Lots are not available for collection at weekends.
This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.
Christie’s has a direct financial interest in this lot. Christie’s has guaranteed to the seller that whatever the outcome of the auction, the seller will receive a minimum sale price for the work. This is known as a minimum price guarantee.

Brought to you by

Tessa Lord
Tessa Lord Interim Acting Head of Department

Lot Essay

Stretching over two metres in height, Dana Schutz’s Forever 21 (2019) is a striking, boldly lit meditation on contemporary online life. At its centre sits a nude young woman on a bed, her arms crossed in a close echo of Edvard Munch’s famed Symbolist painting Puberty (1894-1895). She stares upwards, eyes wide, at a turquoise panel which illuminates the surrounding darkness with an eerie glow. A hand-mirror on the bed reflects her gaze from the panel above. Beside her sits an older woman, who is engaged in dispute with a mean-looking goblin of bright yellow hue. The artist has explained that all three figures are avatars of the same person, and that the painting depicts a woman who is jealous of her own online presence: the turquoise glow is a phone screen. The fast-fashion retailer Forever 21 was given its name because its founder believed 21 was the most enviable age. Schutz uses the slogan to sharpen a modern-day vanitas that portrays the perils of gazing too long at your own image. With its saturated palette and dramatic, tightly interlocking composition, the work exemplifies Schutz’s ability to conjure masterful paintings from the most unexpected ideas.

Schutz pulls her material from pop culture, art history, current events and the realms of private daydream. Objects and reality become malleable and metamorphic in her works, their forceful compositions bursting with dense, fantastical and ambiguous narrative incident. Her vigorous handling of colour and form echoes the work of German Expressionists such as Otto Dix and Max Beckmann, whose figures were often darkly comedic and brutally, even cartoonishly exaggerated. In Forever 21, she also draws upon the ‘Death and the Maiden’ motif common to paintings of the Northern Renaissance: closely related to the Danse macabre tradition, these allegorical works depict young women menaced by older and deceased versions of themselves, warning of life’s fragility and the inevitability of aging. With both playful humour and formal audacity, Schutz reimagines the theme for the digital age.

Resourceful and omnivorous, Schutz’s other characters have included people sneezing, giving birth, or eating their own faces: expressions of what the artist David Salle has called ‘a kind of “what if–ness”’ in her search for subject matter. Forever 21 exhibits the same fearless approach, finding wonder in a place unexplored by painting and unburdened by cliché. If the girl in Forever 21 is captivated by her own image, we are right there with her, plunged into Schutz’s vivid, refreshing and disorienting vision. ‘They have the look of feelings made external’, writes the artist David Salle of her works. ‘They give a sense of the great freedom of mind at the core of painting, the exhilaration of it’ (D. Salle, ‘Dana Schutz’, Artforum, December 2011).

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