Shara Hughes (B. 1981)
La La Land
signed and dated 'SHARA 2009' (lower right); signed, inscribed, titled and dated '"LA LA LAND" Shara Hughes 2009 GEORGIA' (on the reverse)
oil, glitter, wood shavings, acrylic, spray paint on canvas
55 7/8 x 54 in. (142 x 137cm.)
Executed in 2009
Museum 52, New York.
Acquired from the above in 2009.

Lot Essay

An eccentric room – rose-patterned yellow wallpaper, a cuckoo clock, a glass coffee table, an orange rug grinning with mouths, a rainbow-armed chair, a beach ball, a log, an axe, a mysterious cage under a wild terrazzo floor – seems to have hosted a party for one. Myriad liquor bottles, cakes and pies are strewn across the room, while a second chair bears the legend ‘I’m #1!!’ and a starry wizard’s hat. A pair of dark sunglasses sit on the glass table. While this interior displays a number of styles, with thickly impastoed icing, glittery bottles, paint squeezed straight from the tube or gently airbrushed, it is outside that the real clash takes place: the window looks out onto a version of Rubens’s The Massacre of the Innocents (c.1611-12), all Baroque chiaroscuro and vast drama. This violent scene throws disquieting light on the contents of the room: the evidence of self-indulgent debauchery could have an ominous undertone, the cuckoo singing a cartoonish cry of madness for the room’s absent occupant. Perhaps this is the den of some despot who has ordered the death and destruction outside. Is someone imprisoned in the underground cell? Hughes peppers her La La Land with cues and clues, creating a gleefully manifold image.

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