Ellen Gallagher - Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Thursday, May 15, 2014 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Two Palms Press, New York
    Private Collection

  • Exhibited

    New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, DeLuxe, January – May, 2005 (another example exhibited)
    New York, Museum of Modern Art, DeLuxe, July – September, 2005 (another example exhibited)
    Miami, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Ellen Gallagher: Murmur and DeLuxe, February 12 – March 27, 2005 (another example exhibited)
    Zurich, Hauser & Wirth, DeLuxe, March 18 – May 13, 2006 (another example exhibited)
    St. Louis, Contemporary Art Museum, DeLuxe, April – June 2006 (another example exhibited)
    London, Tate Modern, Passages from History, November 2007 – April 2008 (another example exhibited)
    London, Tate Modern, Ellen Gallagher: AxME, May 1 - September 1, 2013 (another example exhibited)
    Savannah, SCAD Museum, Ellen Gallagher: Ice or Salt, September 10, 2013 - January 19, 2014 (another example exhibited)

  • Literature

    Ellen Gallagher: AxME, exh. cat., Tate Publishing, 2013

  • Catalogue Essay

    Ellen Gallagher perpetually constructs, and subsequently unpacks, compelling visual motifs to reveal subtle reflections on the unsettling historical development of racial identity in America. Emphatically departing from high-brow moralization or sorrowful heartache, her body of work can be viewed as a rumination on the contemporary black cultural experience, a pursuit to recognize both the problems and the victories by breathing new life into tired imagery. "I'm interested in reactivating something that was static," Ms. Gallagher said. "I find that so much more interesting than critique." (Edward Lewine, “60 Ways of Looking at a Black Woman,” The New York Times, January 23, 2005). For the artist, the process of metamorphosis in images is fundamental to the meanings engendered in the completed works, an exercise that entails intimate and inventive commitment to the forms illustrated.

    Gallager’s hugely ambitious DeLuxe is an amalgam of printmaking, drawing, collage, and painting driven by an explicit iconography of an intensely poetic, if unsettling, narrative. Her appropriation of postwar magazine pages--mostly advertisements for wigs and skin products marketed for the African-American woman--presents her investigation of anxieties surrounding constructs of feminine beauty as contextualized within her personal biography. The monumentally complex imagery with its formal qualities alone amount to a formidable tour-de-force, coalescing richly-patterned surfaces with elaborate biomorphic figures. The creation is at once surrealist and richly materialized, and when organized in a grid-like arrangement, DeLuxe communicates both as a large and memorable group, as well as separate, singular parts, each operating as its own visceral social investigation.

    Printmaking itself, comprised of concepts about process and the logistics of change, parallels the artist’s themes about the subversion of racial identity in DeLuxe. With modifications such as masking faces and removing or whiting out eyes, Gallagher accentuates the tensions inherent in the creation of identity through the lenses of race and gender. Furthermore, the title of the work functions ironically within the language of the products advertised and debased by the artist in her project. Combining traditional methods with multimedia collage and highly specialized, contemporary techniques, DeLuxe is presented as a seamless synthesis of images from everyday found material with acute musings on the racial self, a spectacularly bizarre work stripped of emotional propaganda.


DeLuxe (complete portfolio of 60)

a portfolio of 60 printed objects with aquatint, dry-point, photogravure, spit-bite, lithography, silkscreen, embossing, tattoo machine engraving, laser-cutting, collage, crystals, cut paper, enamel, glitter, gold leaf, gouache, graphite, oil, plasticine, polymer medium, pomade, toy eyeballs, watercolor and velvet on paper
each 13 1/4 x 10 1/4 in. (33.7 x 26 cm.)
overall 84 x 176 in. (215.2 x 447 cm.)

Each labeled with artist's label "Ellen Gallagher, DeLuxe, 2004/2005, Two Palms Press, NY" and numbered "17/20" in pencil on the reverse. This work is number 17 of 20 unique variants.

$500,000 - 700,000 

Sold for $545,000

Contact Specialist
Zach Miner
Head of Sale
+1 212 940 1256

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York Auction 15 May 2014 7PM