Angel Otero - New Now New York Tuesday, September 28, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Portrait of My Grandmother’s Couch, executed in 2009, is an important early example of the relentless and longstanding innovation that defines Angel Otero’s work today. The present work strikingly presages a recent series of paintings exhibited in the show Angel Otero: The Fortune of Having Been There at Lehmann Maupin in 2021. Both the recent paintings and the present work exhibit a style that merges abstraction and figuration and showcases the autobiographical importance of representation to Otero’s practice. Portrait of My Grandmother’s Couch foregrounds images drawn from Otero’s memories of his childhood combined with art historical references while maintaining the artist’s signature process and abstract style. In the recent series of works, recognizable objects and motifs―beds, house plants, bird cages, couches―seem to float amidst or emerge from the frenetic swirls of layers upon layers of vibrant oil paint, acting as a potent temporal counterpoint to the present work. Like these paintings, Portrait of My Grandmother’s Couch engages with memories associated with specific objects or spaces, particularly those associated with childhood and domestic spaces.


    Though memory has always been a key component of Otero’s work, it has typically been expressed through material specificity and patterning. Depictions of items tied to childhood memories—particularly of the furniture from Otero’s grandmother's home in Puerto Rico, as evinced by the present work—combine with art historical influences that range from Pierre Bonnard’s interiors, to Joan Mitchell’s vibrant palette, to Georges Braque’s use of fragmented and fractured space. Otero’s investigation of domestic memory invites viewers to consider their relationship to quotidian objects, while also reflecting the artist’s personal history, family, and domestic space. These objects function as subjects, in place of the traditional figure or landscape, and exist as both concrete forms and repositories for memory, their significance constructed through their daily use and the accumulation of associations.

    • Provenance

      Kavi Gupta Gallery, Chicago
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      Chicago Cultural Center, Angel Otero: Touch With Your Eyes, January 29–March 28, 2010
      Chicago, Iceberg Projects, Gregg Bordowitz: Talk is the object, May 21–June 19, 2011, (illustrated on the cover)

    • Literature

      Adam Richie, "The Slant on Angel Otero," ArtSlant, March 8, 2010, online (illustrated)
      Michelle Grabner, "Gregg Bordowitz," Artforum, vol. 50, no. 2, October 2011, p. 319 (illustrated)


Portrait of My Grandmother's Couch

foam, paper, acrylic, oil and found objects on couch fabric, mounted to panel
59 1/8 x 48 x 8 in. (150.2 x 121.9 x 20.3 cm)
Executed in 2009.

Full Cataloguing

$10,000 - 15,000 

Sold for $37,800

Contact Specialist

Patrizia Koenig

Head of New Now Sale

212 940 1279

New Now

New York Auction 28 September 2021