Around $1 million
With his upcoming career retrospective at MoMA in the running for the most-anticipated exhibition of the fall—and he’s up against Matisse and Picasso to boot—Robert Gober is primed to go from an acquired taste to a surreal superstar. This sculpture, on display at Matthew Marks’s booth, is a greatest-hits encapsulation of the artist’s unique preoccupations: structured around the armature of a stool (modeled after the one he uses in his studio, and cast in faux-bois aluminum), it’s fronted by a fleshily convincing pair of disembodied breasts (hand-modeled in beeswax) and shelters within a bird’s nest (painstakingly built from twigs) holding three blue robin’s eggs (resin). Robins, one should note, are an element of Catholic iconography, and a reference to the religious upbringing that caused him to anguish over his homosexuality—with the breasts and eggs standing for both sexual identity and reproduction. A knockout Gober, it sold to a Chicago collector.
Trapped by Red Groats and Afterwards… (1987)
David Zwirner Gallery
Best known for non-furniture, playful public sculptures, and idiosyncratic “Passtucke”—interactive sculptures meant to be work or otherwise engaged with by viewers—the late Austrian artist Franz West also created collages throughout his career, using them as a kind of sketchpad for shaping his ideas. This work from 1987, composed of three advertisements West took from girlie magazines and then painted on, installed in a lumpy white frame of his own devising, is representative of this strain of his work: located in strange, anonymous spaces, the pornographic figures take on an unexpected psychological dimension. An artist who is close to the gallery’s history, West showed with Zwirner when he first opened, though he eventually moved to Gagosian, which represents his estate today. The original relationship still pays dividends, however: a show of West’s work is planned at Zwirner this November, and this collage sold to a Chicago collector at the fair.
Aat Veldhoen, Robert Jasper Grootveld and Netty Dagevos, rotaprint, 1964
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