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  • Overview 

    'You open [Photoshop] up and there’s this paint bucket. If you click and hold it you get the gradient tool. Then you click up here and get to pick these different options. You drag it and it goes like this!' —Cory Arcangel

    Presenting a kaleidoscope of colours radiating from a single point, Photoshop CS: 110 by 72 inches, 300DPI, RGB, square pixels, default gradient "Spectrum", mousedown y=9900 x=3450, mouseup y=990 x=21450 is an invigorating example of Cory Arcangel’s Photoshop Gradient Demonstrations, commenced in 2007. In the series, Arcangel created each composition using the graphics editor Adobe Photoshop, before materialising them as monumental c-prints, and titling them after the exact coordinates of their gridded source’s x- and y- axes. Signifying the importance of the present work in Arcangel’s oeuvre, eight examples from the artist’s Photoshop Gradient Demonstrations were exhibited on the occasion of his breakthrough survey at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York in 2011— an event that epitomised his growing success, and hailed him the youngest artist since Bruce Nauman to be bestowed a full-floor solo show within the institution. Heralding a new epoch of innovation and technical prowess, Arcangel’s Photoshop Gradient Demonstrations are notably redolent of Albert Oehlen’s similar artistic intention developed with his Computer Paintings of the 1990s, begun following the purchase of his first laptop computer.

     

    Albert Oehlen, Tidying Up, 1998, inkjet ink, oil, acrylic and enamel on canvas, Private Collection. Image: Scala, Florence.
    Albert Oehlen, Tidying Up, 1998, inkjet ink, oil, acrylic and enamel on canvas, Private Collection. Image: Scala, Florence.

     

    Technology as Material

    'All of a sudden millions of people were expressing themselves through a computer. I feel it’s the most interesting thing to happen in like 20 years. Although my works can end up on walls, and physical, like sculptures, it often comes from me sitting where I like to be – at my computer.' — Cory Arcangel

    Claiming that his computer is where he ‘feels at home’, Arcangel began delving into his formal investigation of technology when he was a student in classical guitar and music technology at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio in the late 1990s. There, he started reworking old computer systems from the 1970s and 1980s, crystalising their contemporary state before reaching potential obsolescence. He deepened this thematic exploration when he began using Photoshop and other computer software as creative tools, conjuring familiar yet entirely new aesthetics based on technological sources. ‘I wait for culture to swim by me, and then I snap it up’, he said.1  The present work perfectly captures this stylistic shift; it represents a key example of his Photoshop Gradient Demonstrations, where the impetuosity of the creative act meets the finite nature of the readymade. A contemporary take on the Colour Field artists’ investigation into colour, Photoshop CS: 110 by 72 inches, 300DPI, RGB, square pixels, default gradient "Spectrum", mousedown y=9900 x=3450, mouseup y=990 x=21450 feels like a mechanised form of Morris Louis’ vibrant stain paintings — a deeply relevant study of the intersection between technology and fine art.

     

    Louis Morris, Aleph Series IV, 1960, acrylic on canvas, Empire State Plaza Art Collection, New York.  Image: Bridgeman Images. © Maryland College Institute of Art (MICA), Rights Administered by ARS, NY and DACS, London, All Rights Reserved 2021.
    Morris Louis, Aleph Series IV, 1960, acrylic on canvas, Empire State Plaza Art Collection, New York. Image: Bridgeman Images. © Maryland College Institute of Art (MICA), Rights Administered by ARS, NY and DACS, London, All Rights Reserved 2021.

     

    Cory Arcangel in Focus

     

    In this episode of Tate Shots, Cory Arcangel speaks about his Photoshop Gradient Demonstrations in the context of his show at Tate Liverpool in 2009.

     

    • Provenance

      Team Gallery, New York
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

35

Photoshop CS: 110 by 72 inches, 300 DPI, RGB, square pixels, default gradient "Spectrum", mousedown y=9900 x=3450, mouseup y=990 x=21450

chromogenic print face mounted to Diasec, in artist's frame
287 x 193 cm (112 7/8 x 75 7/8 in.)
Executed in 2010.

Full Cataloguing

Estimate
£100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for £245,700

Contact Specialist

 

Rosanna Widén
Senior Specialist, Head of Evening Sale

+ 44 20 7318 4060
[email protected]

 

Olivia Thornton
Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Europe

+ 44 20 7318 4099
[email protected]

 

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 15 April 2021