Haim Steinbach - Contemporary Art and Design Evening Sale New York Tuesday, March 3, 2015 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Jay Gorney Modern Art, New York
    Acquired directly from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    “The way I arrange objects in one line is like the way that we arrange words in a sentence.”
    Haim Steinbach, 2012

    For Haim Steinbach, selected objects placed upon a wall-installed shelf have become a source of endless artistic possibilities. When asked why and how the shelf came to serve as his lifelong artistic platform, Steinbach replied, “So many things led me to it. But, for one: In my parents’ home in upstate New York, there was a shelf about ten inches above the kitchen table, which was pushed against the wall. On that shelf was everything from a small calendar to knickknacks and a flower vase. There were also other little objects there….Some things were exchanged for others from time to time. Every time I sat at that kitchen table I would look at that shelf and I would ask, What are these objects doing here? I would question the decorative details, the cultural associations, the functional reasons for these things to be there.” (Haim Steinbach, in P. Schwenger, “BOMB — Artists in Conversation,” Bomb Magazine, Fall 2012)

    Looking at the present lot, ten second memos #7, 1991, the viewer ponders the very same questions that the artist had puzzled over years earlier. By lining up seemingly random items, such as ceramics, boxing gloves, shoes, and personal mementos, he is at a very basic visual level “doing what people ordinarily do with the objects that they like.”(Haim Steinbach, in P. Schwenger, “BOMB — Artists in Conversation,” Bomb Magazine, Fall 2012) However, as an artist, Steinbach is de-contextualizing and re-contextualizing these varied objects in order to create a psychological tension through the detached arrangement of form. The work seems to ask, “Do these objects retain their human value as traces of living?” As a collection of objects upon a shelf, the items are displayed in a clean and aesthetically minimalistic way. They are detached from reality and made to share in the same outward substance and color. The pitcher and the boxing glove become something other than themselves. The viewer may sense the oddity of the incidental objects and their cultural associations, yet the overall display is experienced as “a certain kind of structure, a repetition or movement.” (Haim Steinbach, in P. Schwenger, “BOMB — Artists in Conversation,” Bomb Magazine, Fall 2012)


ten second memos #7

plastic laminated wood shelf, ceramic pitcher, leather boxing glove
21 1/2 x 32 x 12 1/2 in. (54.6 x 81.3 x 31.8 cm)
Signed, titled, numbered and dated "Haim Steinbach '91 ten second memos #7" on the reverse.

$60,000 - 80,000 

Sold for $68,750

Contact Specialist
Amanda Stoffel
Head of Evening Sale, Contemporary Art
New York
+ 1 212 940 1261

Meaghan Roddy
Head of Sale, Design
New York
+ 1 212 940 1266

Contemporary Art and Design Evening Sale

New York Auction 3 March 2015 6pm