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Phillips de Pury & Company Announces Forthcoming London Theme Auction MUSIC

LONDON.- Phillips de Pury & Company announce the highlights of the forthcoming London Theme auction MUSIC on the 10th December 2010. Following on from the success of MUSIC 2009 Phillips de Pury & Company continue to offer works that emphasize the link between art and music. The Day sale comprises 115 lots with a low estimate of £344,150/$ 548,919 and a high estimate of £497,750/$793,911. The evening sale will comprise 19 lots with a low estimate of £815,000/$1,299,925 and a high estimate of £1,162,000/$1,853,390. During the Day Sale there will be a special performance by Joe Goddard and Alexis Taylor (Hot Chip) who will DJ to accompany the auction. Joe Goddard, one half, along with Alexis Taylor, of a core duo that have had the name Hot Chip since they played Pavement and Spacemen 3 covers at Elliott School, Putney where they first met in their early teens. Through Hot Chip, the English Electropop band, they have released four studio albums — Coming on Strong, The Warning, Made in the Dark and One Life Stand. "We are thrilled to be presenting our second annual MUSIC sale. While last year we had Matthew Herbert accompany part of the live auction with MUSIC, we are very excited to have Joe and Alexis from Hot Chip do the same." Simon de Pury, Chairman Phillips de Pury & Company.

“Phillips de Pury & Company has always been at the forefront of bringing new and challenging art and culture into the public realm. This MUSIC sale aims to explain the extraordinary synergy between art production and Music making. From Idris Kahn's reworking of classical music scores to Christian Marclay's translations from the audible to the visual. This sale highlights through contemporary art and photography that these two parallel art forms exist as one” Henry Allsopp, Worldwide Director of Curated Sales and Exhibitions.

Highlights of the sale include:
Damien Hirst’s, Beautiful Hours Spin Painting VI, 2008 estimated at £250,000-350,000. “I’ve always had an interest in the music biz. I got my interest in art from album covers. I was painting album covers on mates’ jackets at school. I loved The Beatles – Peter Blake and Sgt Pepper, Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground.” It is life and death that we recognize as the most frequent obsessions in Hirst’s work, and the present lot demonstrates both. In Hirst’s Beautiful Hours painting, symbols for life’s fleetingness are crossed and multiplied: a skull with clocks for eyes, simultaneously solidifying and dissolving; the canvas depicting a soupy, painterly big bang from which the skull is birthed – and into which it conversely recedes. The painting invokes the spirit of vanitas still life, the 16th and 17th century painterly tradition which gathers motifs of clocks, skulls and rotting fruit to guarantee its message is not misread; all roads lead to the same place. Presently, a message which pushes beyond a one dimensional reading of mortality, one that could be used to summarize Hirst’s interests generally: death is certain, death is eternal; but also, death is beautiful.

Idris Khan’s Rachmaninoff…Preludes, 2007 estimated at £35,000-40,000. Idris Khan’s work is a cryptic play of appropriation and re-creation, profoundly rooted in questions of authorship and time. Khan starts by photographing a range of existing works, subsequently digitally layering and manipulating the images to produce a final piece that evokes new thoughts concerning the original content and opens up room for interpretation. He uses analog and digital photographic techniques to appropriate existing images, text and musical scores from cultural luminaries, such as Bernd and Hilla Becher, Ludwig van Beethoven, Johann Sebastian Bach, Franz Schubert, Caravaggio, William Turner, Sigmund Freud and the Holy Quran. These figures act as literal building blocks, with which Khan can create a single composite image. In the present lot, Khan uses musical scores from the Russian composer and pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff. The individual notes and staves have become almost indecipherable and recognizable only on close inspection. The numerous layers have created lines of engulfing energy, leaving a spectre of the original image. The once flat page of music has metamorphosed and become animated by the accumulative interventions of the artist’s hand. Such direct interventions imbue the present lot with a painterly sense; it pulsates with energy. Khan’s work can be conceived as a homage to the art, literature and music that has influenced him and the world around him.

Martin Creed’s, Work No. 134: Largo, larghetto, adagio, andante, moderato, allegro, presto e prestissimo, 1995 estimated at £35,000-45,000. For over twenty years, conceptual artist Marin Creed has combined wit and humour in his instinctive anti-materialist artistic practice. While indebted to the Minimal and Conceptual art movements from the 1960s, the Turner Prize winning artist’s work is infused with playfulness reminiscent of the Dadaists and the Surrealists. Predating his iconic Work No. 227, The lights going on and off, the present lot, Work No. 134, is an early exploration of the banality of everyday life and everyday existence using the incessant repetitive ticking emitted from a set of metronomes. Simultaneously beating at a different speed, each metronome maintains a consistent tempo around a fixed beat thereby creating a collective dissonant cacophony from an individual rhythmic precision. Expanding upon Minimalist notions of repetition and progression using sound, Martin Creed perfectly achieves with Work No. 134 the concept of controlled chaos and chance which permeates his entire oeuvre. In addition to depicting the hopeless romantic ideal of the eternal, the metronome’s perpetual monotone clicks raise fundamental questions about the relationship between art and music.

Gregor Hildebrandt’s, Pictures of You (Cure), 2007 estimated at £18,000-22,000.
“There are no colors per se, in the direct or conventional sense of the term but these recorded tape ribbons could be considered a musical painting. The support remains a canvas, the glue is applied with paint brush, and the placement of the glue always plays an essential role in how the cassette tapes will therein be organized. When you really get down to it, it really consists of painting. But I often call them collages, as I find the expression more chic. I see myself as an artist, rather than a painter. But I can’t disown painting, it is the root of my work.. “[…] I feel close to Manzoni or Yves Klein, for example. My link with these artists is built on a reflection about space and painting. When someone looks at one of my larger collages, they can see there an evocation of the firmament. The small white marks, which are the material beginnings and endings of every song, can refer to stars. And clearly, the space is the black surface. Klein was a kind of wild type and everybody used to tell him that above is black, not blue. I would say, who cares? For an artist, the idea builds the legitimacy, which is crucial. “I’ve been thinking about paying homage to Klein. I would like to take on the idea of the Anthropometries, with the naked women covered in paint, who whored themselves on the canvas. Klein realized this work while an orchestra was playing, it would make sense considering what I’m focused about in my own work. Yeah, well, I still have to discuss that with my girlfriend…” (Gregor Hildebrandt, from an interview with Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel, 2 November 2010,

George Condo’s, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, 1999 estimated at £60,000-80,000. George Condo may well be best remembered for being the artist whose cover art for Kanye West’s My Dark Twisted Fantasy was almost censored, as Wal Mart allegedly threatened not to sell the album depicting a man resembling West with a naked phoenix. This polemical image is in the same style that has led Condo to become one of the most sought-after artists of the 21st century. Ironically, the fearlessness that makes his work so sought after in the art market is the very thing that has led to his seemingly fraught encounter with the music industry. Jenny Holzer’s, Selections from Truisms (1977–79) and Survival (1983–85), 1997 estimated at £80,000-120,000.Holzer is an artist celebrated for her use of words. Her statements and aphorisms have been projected onto buildings and monuments all over the world. Marking the beginning of her Truisms series, Holzer devised numerous slogans which played on commonly held truths and clichés. Her eventual, now signature, use of electronic advertising boards, typically displaying messages such as ‘ambition is just as dangerous as complacency’, is to be seen in the present lot, which shows selections from Truisms (1977–79) and also Survival (1983–85). The work was made by Holzer for a benefit organized by the Artist Formerly Known as Prince and EMI Records in 1997. It is one of the few unique LED works by the artist. Her message, ticking repetitively along the sign, is almost charmingly hypnotic, until the viewer tries to decipher it: “Dependence can be a meal ticket” it challenges. Her messages are at once familiar and bizarre; as such, Holzer’s mash-up of clichés infiltrate the mind easily at first, then boggle from inside. Here, her looped message meets an intervention of metallic seriality: twenty-four symbols, aligned on a frame in a continuous succession. The symbol, used by the highly successful pop musician Prince, marks the result of the musician’s legal battle with Warner Bros over the artistic and financial control of his career. The resulting symbol thus represents not only the musician and his work, but corporate bullying and commercial intrigue. A pictorial truism, the symbol forces his fans to really consider what’s in a name.

ARMAN’s Untitled, 1972, estimated at £80,000-150,000 Executed in 1972, Untitled is an iconic assault on art and culture in the artist’s signature style. We are presented with a cello in shattered parts, suspended in time as if at the point of explosion. Through the act of destruction, or rather deconstruction, and reordering of this instantly recognizable object, Arman explores ideas about creation and new perspectives of reality. A technique which echoes the principles of Cubism and Dadaism and was propounded by the movement that Arman was closely associated with – Nouveau Realisme, new ways of perceiving the real. With this work, Arman prompts the viewer to question and re-evaluate our understanding of the world by presenting us with a series of confounding statements: a musical instrument that is deprived of its functional ability to play music; an instrument permanently silenced and frozen in time by Perspex yet presented in a way in which the sound and movement of an explosion is emitted; the deliberate destruction of a classic musical instrument which society has been taught to revere and the role of the artist/creator in this act; the annihilation of aesthetic beauty in a instrumental form only to be repositioned into permanent anarchic splendour.

Billy Childish’s, Self-Portrait, 2005–06, estimated at £12,000-18,000. Billy Childish follows a different path to that of most artists. His prolific creative practice encompasses not only painting, but also poetry, photography, writing (including several novels) and music (with over 30 recordings to his name). He pioneered a fusion of punk and blues and has been the lead figure in numerous bands, including Thee Milkshakes (1980–84), Thee Mighty Caesars (1985–89) and Thee Headcoats (1989–99). His paintings are for the most part figurative selfportraits, and indeed the basis of his practice throughout all of his work has been biographical or autobiographical in some form. The early influences on his painting, especially the work of Edvard Munch and Vincent van Gogh, are clear in the broad, even urgent brushstrokes with which Childish applies the paint and in his colour palette – his whole approach in fact echoes the anxiety and pressure of emotion that we associate with those earlier painters. The work of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Die Brücke provides another resource for Childish’s vision – the raw expressionism of the angular features, for example, in the artist’s face and eyes seen in the present lot are typical in their reworking of an earlier master.

Two works by Vanessa Beecroft will feature in the sale: VBKW.16.JJ, Los Angeles, 2008 estimated £12,000-18,000 and VBKW.14.JJ, Los Angeles, 2008 estimated at £12,000-18,000. The performance, VB63/VBKW, took place on 14 October 2008 at the Ace Gallery in Los Angeles on the occasion of a listening party for Kanye West’s album 808s & Heartbreak. Forty models were arranged with the darkest skin tones in the foreground to lighter skin in the background in the shape of a heart. The models stood in a gallery space as all 11 tracks of the album were played while vibrant colours slowly alternated in the space behind them. Recently Beecroft art-directed West’s landmark 34-minute music video Runaway.

Joel Brodsky’s 1939–2007 Jim Morrison, The Doors, The American poet, New York City, 1967,estimated at £20,000-30,000.Joel Brodsky recalled his most famous shoot in a later interview: “The Doors were among the brighter groups I’d shot at that point. They had a visual orientation and seemed to understand the potential of a good photo session. Initially, there seemed to be a little jealously that Morrison was being put so up front in the photos, but basically the others understood that Jim was the sex symbol and an important visual focus for the band. After we’d done group shots, I shot some individual pictures of each member, saving Morrison for last. I knew I was going to be spending the most time with him, so I didn’t want them to have to sit around and wait too long. Well, while this was going on, Jim was drinking quite a bit. So by the time I got to shooting the individual shots of him, Morrison was pretty loose. The ‘American Poet’ shot was pretty near the end, I think. He wasn’t a wild drunk - actually he was kind of quiet - but his equilibrium wasn’t too terrific. Still, he was great to photograph because he had a very interesting look. It seemed like a good session to me, and then a week later, we ran one of the photos in The Village Voice. The story I’ve heard is that they got something like ten thousand requests for the picture. You know, Morrison never really looked that way again, and those pictures have become a big part of The Doors’ legend. I think I got him at his peak.” Joel Brodsky,Snap Galleries, London.

Andy Warhol’s Private rare collection of 52 album and record covers (including Index book with hard holograph cover, picture discs and FAB magazine case), 1949–87 estimated at £20,000 – 30,000. “It was in August 1996. In a record store, I came across a record by Paul Anka with a cover designed by Warhol. I already knew of his two most famous album covers, the ‘peelable’ banana sleeve for the Velvet Underground and the zippered sleeve for the Stones’ Sticky Fingers. From then on, the challenge of discovering how many covers Warhol had created became the great challenge of acquiring them all, together with the records […] The album covers alone enable one to follow the whole course of Warhol’s career as an artist, almost step by step, and this is almost unique among great artists. Although they did not appear in museums or art galleries, the album covers benefited from the parallel distribution network represented by the records. Warhol fully understood this remarkable channel for disseminating his art. Most of the covers he created were designed for that purpose and not, as is too often the case, existing works recycled as record jackets.” (Paul Maréchal, quoted in N. Bondil, ‘I’m Andy Warhol, I’d like to do a record jacket for you’, in Andy Warhol The Record Covers 1949–1987: Catalogue Raisonné, 2008, p. 7).


Phillips de Pury & Company | Theme Auction MUSIC | London | Hot Chip |

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