Cory Arcangel - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Tuesday, October 20, 2020 | Phillips
  • Overview


    In Photoshop CS: 110 by 72 inches, 300 DPI, RGB, square pixels, default gradient 'Spectrum', mousedown y=23900 x=11650, mouseup y=32650 x=11650, Cory Arcangel presents a kaleidoscope of gradients radiating from a single point. Conceived with the mouse of his computer, the image within the composition was initially materialised using the graphics editing programme Adobe Photoshop, before being transformed into a unique large-scale c-print using the highest quality of print technology, mounting and framing. A quintessential and early work from Arcangel’s young opus, the work forms part of the artist’s widely celebrated Photoshop Gradient Demonstrations commenced in 2007, whereby each composition’s title mirrors the exact coordinates of the user’s mouse as it hovers over the x- and y- axes of the gridded source. Notably, eight examples from the series were exhibited on the occasion of Arcangel’s breakthrough survey at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York in 2011 -- an event which epitomised his growing success, and hailed him the youngest artist since Bruce Nauman to be bestowed a full-floor solo show within the institution. 

    '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

    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 softwares as creative tools, conjuring familiar yet entirely new aesthetics based on pervasive technological sources. ‘I wait for culture to swim by me, and then I snap it up’, he said.i 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.


     Cory Arcangel, quoted in Miranda Siegel, ‘The Joys of Obsolescence’, New York Magazine, 15 May 2011, online.


    • Provenance

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

    • Exhibited

      Lisbon, Portugal Arte 10, Inside/Outside, 16 July - 15 August 2010


Photoshop CS: 110 by 72 inches, 300 DPI, RGB, square pixels, default gradient 'Spectrum', mousedown y=23900 x=11650, mouseup y=32650 x=11650

chromogenic print face mounted to Diasec, in artist's frame
287 x 190.5 cm (113 x 75 in.)
Executed in 2009.

Full Cataloguing

£100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for £252,000

Contact Specialist

Kate Bryan
Specialist, Head of Evening Sale
+44 20 7318 4026

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 20 October 2020