Dana Schutz - Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Thursday, May 10, 2012 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Zach Feuer Gallery, New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner, 2004

  • Exhibited

    New York, Zach Feuer Gallery, Material Eyes: David Altmejd, Dana Schutz & Kirsten Stoltmann, December 11, 2003 - January 17, 2004
    Overland Park, Kansas, The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Dana Schutz, May 25 – June 20, 2004

  • Literature

    D. Schutz, Dana Schutz, The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Johnson County Community College Gallery of Art, Kansas, 2004, pp. 28-29 (illustrated)
    J. Cape, The Triumph of Painting, London, The Saatchi Gallery, 2005, p. 195 (illustrated)
    R. Platow, Dana Schutz: Paintings 2002-2005, Waltham, The Rose Art Museum, 2006, pp. 38-39 (illustrated)
    N. Rosenthal and M. Dailey, USA Today: New American Art from The Saatchi Collection, London, Royal Academy of Arts, 2006, pp. 338-339 (illustrated)
    E. Booth-Clibborn, The History of The Saatchi Gallery, London, 2011, p. 696 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    I wanted the subject matter to look like it could be rearranged — a scene that could be reconstructed, or a picture that could disassemble or blow away. Something kind of
    jumpy and active, but not a mechanical, op-art thing.


    (Dana Schutz, quoted in “What Painting Wants: A Q&A with Dana Schutz,” ARTINFO, May 10, 2010).

    In Dana Schutz’ masterwork, Death Comes to Us All, 2003, fragmented forms and vibrant colors collide in an explosive fury. A figure stands before us: the lower portion is identifiable as human by the tanned legs, orange shorts, and small hands, the left of which precariously holds a cigarette between two figures; however, above the hips sits a creature unknown to this world. A beast comprised of feathery brushstrokes, bulging eyes, and a lethally sharp beak has consumed the upper body of the figure. The subject is composed, yet decomposed; formed, yet formless; inanimate, yet very much alive. In discussing her body of work, the artist says, “Recently I have been making paintings of sculptural goddesses, transitory still lifes, people who make things, people who are made and people who have the ability to eat themselves. Although the paintings themselves are not specifically narrative, I often invent imaginative systems and situations to generate information. These situations usually delineate a site where making is a necessity, audiences potentially don’t exist, objects transcend their function and reality is malleable. (Dana Schutz, The Saatchi Gallery,
    London, 2004).

    In the violent and flammable Death Comes to Us All, 2003, Schutz presents us with a hybrid figure, in a hallucination that appears all too real. Plucked from our nightmares, this chimera invades our subconscious with its animalistic head, robotic torso, and adolescent legs. Yet while the upper portion of the figure appears crazed and demonic, it stands in a common parking lot, surrounded by a lush field. This contradictory circumstance probes the viewer to wonder whether the subject is a phantom of the imagination, a hallucination, an apparition. Schutz, playing by her own rules, blurs the reality where life and art converge, through her portal-like canvases. The mutated figure consolidates figuration and abstraction, as if the result of a monstrous experiment. The effect of this visual and kinetic collision is of a vision abandoned, unbounded, and limitless.


Death Comes to Us All

oil on canvas
120 1/4 x 78 in. (305.4 x 198.1 cm)
Signed, titled, and dated “Dana Schutz, 2003, Death Comes to Us All” on the reverse.

$300,000 - 400,000 

Sold for $482,500

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

10 May 2012
New York