Joe Zucker - New Now New York Wednesday, March 9, 2022 | Phillips

Create your first list.

Select an existing list or create a new list to share and manage lots you follow.

  • Art historian and curator John Elderfield on Joe Zucker’s sash cord paintings:


    “[In 1986, Joe Zucker made an] extraordinary decision to make paintings not on canvas but on a taut grid of sash cords, to which the artist added ridge after ridge of dabs of paint until the entire grid was covered by an image-bearing surface skin of pigment. It is clear that the surface of these paintings have been patiently filled, but not so clear on what support their surfaces have been built. Working with paint rather than with cotton meant reducing the size of each compositional element, therefore tempering the object-quality of the work. Conversely, the emphatic presence of the grid restored the object-quality of the work. Speaking to Brenda Richardson in 1976, Zucker said: ‘I want the physical quality of the paint to become more pronounced. I want the viewer to be aware that every piece of that surface is handmade, that I have left my mark on the skin of that painting. The paintings become objects which carry an imprint of a specific activity.’ They still did in the paintings made a decade later. However, these were objects, surfaces, that, rather than carrying the imprint of a specific activity, the artist’s mark, on the skin of the painting, were literally composed by a specific activity: Each mark is a fragment of the epidermis itself.


    Since the invention of painterly painting in Renaissance Venice, the traces of the actions performed by the artist on the surface of the canvas have been understood to be marks of authorship and claims of originality. This was quintessential to modernist painting, from the work of Paul Cézanne to that of de Kooning and Jackson Pollock. The beauty of Zucker’s sash-cord works disguises their subversiveness. Zucker did not simply erase the visibly handmade, as did the Minimalist and Pop artists in their reaction against Abstract Expressionism: He recalibrated its function so that traces of actions weave together the surface, more like making a carpet than a painting.”i


    i John Elderfield, Joe Zucker, London, 2019, pp. 14–15.

    • Provenance

      Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner in 2015

    • Exhibited

      Water Mill, Parrish Art Museum, Parrish Perspectives—Joe Zucker: Life & Times of an Orb Weaver, March 15–April 26, 2015

Property from a Distinguished Curator's Collection


Spider #2A

signed, titled and dated "Spider #2A Joe Zucker 92" on the reverse
sash cord, acrylic and wood
54 x 54 in. (137.2 x 137.2 cm)
Executed in 1992.

Full Cataloguing

$5,000 - 7,000 

Contact Specialist

Avery Semjen

Head of Sale, New Now

212 940 1207

New Now

New York Auction 9 March 2022