Painting

Sector for Monumental Art

The 1980s are back—and not just in the latest season of the Netflix series Stranger Things. The work of late artist Steven Parrino—who became famous for his signature torn, crumpled and twisted canvases and sculptures that were once synonymous with bad-boy art of the ’80s—has been cropping up everywhere in recent months.

Gagosian—which has represented the artist’s estate since 2006, the year after the artist’s untimely death in a New Year’s Eve motorcycle accident at age 46—has been doing the heavy lifting. Last month, the gallery presented Parrino’s 13 Shattered Panels (for Joey Ramone), a large-format, site-specific installation of folded, crumbled, and torn painted plasterboard, in Art Basel’s Unlimited sector for monumental art. And at the most recent Frieze Art Fair in New York, the gallery juxtaposed Parrino’s work with pieces by chrome sculptor John Chamberlain to illustrate how both explored the act of folding and compressing materials. [Eileen Kinsella on Steven Parrino]

Richmond Burton Compass Tryptic 1990

Sotheby’s is pleased to announce Colossal! Monumental Works from the 1980s, an online-only sale that focuses on large painting and sculpture by artists of the Neo Expressionist and Neo Geo movements, both of which defined the artistic scene of that decade and affected the artistic production of others in the years to come. Many of the artists included have enjoyed critical attention during the 1980s and beyond for their fresh conceptual approaches to images and objects. Taken together, these represent a strong aesthetic current that captures the zeitgeist of an era defined by a major increase in demand for Contemporary Art. All lots in this sale are being offered without reserve.
A selection of highlights will be on view in our New York galleries from July 10-17. Other works are available to be viewed in our New Jersey storage facility. Please contact us directly with any viewing requests. [Sotheby’s Collassal! Monumental Works from the 1980s]

“If this seems unduly commercial, that’s because it is. “Boom” gently posits that the arc of the art market in the late 20th and early 21st centuries has been yanked away from art and toward the market. Beginning in the 1940s, Shnayerson traces a move from connoisseurship to commerce, from the elegant Leo Castelli, whose gallery showed Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, to his rather more rambunctious protégé, Larry Gagosian. As a new guard of dealers rises, collaborating and competing with one another — Mary Boone, Gagosian’s rival for Castelli’s blessing, is one of a handful of female gallerists Shanyerson credits with challenging male domination of the field — it must also contend with the insatiable market it has helped to create…
At the outset, even the merit of today’s multimillion-dollar art was a matter of debate. “The quality of the American achievement is very far from being a settled question,” Hilton Kramer wrote in a scathing Times review of the Metropolitan Museum’s 1969 show of postwar American art, which included the likes of Pollock, de Kooning, Lichtenstein and Warhol — a question that was settled, in part, thanks to the work of boosters like Betty Parsons, Sidney Janis and Castelli, gallerists who championed and sold it. “Art, not money, was Leo’s motivation,” Patty Brundage, who worked for Castelli, told Shnayerson. “He wouldn’t have made it as a dealer today because it’s all about the money.” [Matthew Schneier on the book Boom Mad Money, Mega Dealers, and the Rise of Contemporary Art

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