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Major contemporary artists donate works to benefit the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Barbara Kruger, Untitled (Provenance), 2015. Photographic silkscreen on vinyl. Est. $120/180,000.


NEW YORK, NY.- Sotheby’s announced that its spring auctions of Contemporary Art in New York will feature an outstanding selection of works generously donated by artists in support of MOCA – The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Approximately 35 works will be offered in both Sotheby’s Evening and Day Sales of Contemporary Art on 12 & 13 May and will include exceptional examples by leading artists of the day – all with strong ties to MOCA – including Mark Bradford, Mark Grotjahn, Jeff Koons, Barbara Kruger and Ed Ruscha, among many others. Together, the group is estimated to bring in excess of $10 million* and proceeds will benefit MOCA’s endowment. Highlights will be shown at Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills from 19-21 March ahead of the exhibition and sale in New York this May.

“This auction is not only important for MOCA’s fiscal health and for the continued growth of our endowment but, and I think more significantly, it is an incredible vote of confidence from the artists’ community,” remarked MOCA board co-chair Maurice Marciano. “The outpouring of support and immense generosity we are seeing is humbling and lets us know that we have their trust. You can’t assign a value to that.”

Lisa Dennison, Chairman of Sotheby’s North & South America, commented: “We are honored to help MOCA build their endowment and realize their vision for the future. The superb group of works featured in our May auctions boasts examples by the most exciting and desirable artists of our time – from the leading California artists of this generation to important international figures.”

Among the works that have been committed for sale thus far is Mark Grotjahn’s Untitled (Into and Behind the Green Eyes of the Tiger Monkey Face 43.18) from 2011, an archetype of the artist’s most esteemed cycle of paintings (est. $2/3 million). Possessing the same roughly convergent one-point perspective as his celebrated Butterflyworks, yet devouring the picture plane in an altogether denser, braver, and more wildly variegated manner, Grotjahn’s Face paintings are a monument to the artist’s mesmerizing bravado and graphic unruliness and cement his place in the ranks of his great gestural abstractionist forebears such as Pablo Picasso and Willem de Kooning.

Gazing Ball (Centaur and Lapith), executed in 2013, is a stunning work from Jeff Koons’ most recent fully executed series (est. $1.8/2.5 million). First shown at David Zwirner gallery in New York in spring of 2013, this cycle also had pride of place at the entrance to the Whitney Museum of American Art’s 2014 blockbuster retrospective of Koons’ work. For this sculpture, Koons rendered a scene which originally appeared on the west pediment of The Temple of Zeus in Olympia, Greece. Upon the arcing back of the centaur is placed a blue gazing ball, the eponymous feature of the series. Koons cites as his inspiration the gazing balls installed in his neighbors’ yards growing up in suburban Pennsylvania which, by their nature, reflect the world and the people around them.

One of the original members of the groundbreaking group of artists designated the “Pictures Generation,” Barbara Kruger’s distinctive artistic vernacular revolutionized feminist postmodern art in the 1970s and 1980s. Untitled (Provenance), which was generously created and donated by the artist expressly for this auction, proves that her work continues to be as socially relevant and piercingly insightful today as it ever was (est. $120/180,000). In the present work, Kruger has taken what looks to be an advertisement for paintbrushes – the so-called ‘real’ tools of an artist – and superimposed four words that are used to comment directly on the nature of the art market, thereby calling direct attention to the social, cultural, and political context in which Untitled (Provenance) was conceived.

Executed in 2014, the complex surface of Mark Bradford’s magnificent Smear is the end result of a considered and labor-intensive process; a repetitive cycle of addition and subtraction of a wide array of materials on and off the canvas (est. $500/700,000). Incorporating found materials – culled from his immediate surroundings in Los Angeles – the present work encapsulates the artist’s response to the urban networks and topographies that are absolutely integral to who he is and what he creates.

Ed Ruscha’s Goods and Services, executed in 2014, is representative of the most iconic elements of the artist’s long-celebrated career (est. $600/800,000). Ruscha initially certified his foremost position amongst his American Pop Art peers in California in the 1960s by creating a series of works that conflate the viewer’s understanding of ‘word’ and ‘image’; here, the artist brilliantly achieves this fundamental fusion through the superimposition of “Goods and Services” upon a snowy mountain scape.





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