Kelley Walker - Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Wednesday, May 15, 2013 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

  • Catalogue Essay

    “ I think appropriation points to or suggests some sort of original, a locatable source that one appropriates and in many ways eclipses.”

    New York-based artist Kelley Walker is known for recycling, re-processing and referencing the familiar, so it is not surprising that in I see an attacking bear-shaped thing, 2002 he revisits a late Warhol Rorschach series work, a psychologist’s personality assessment tool, and nineteenth-century parlor game all at once. This is not just appropriation, but something that goes beyond that – a reappropriation – a brightly polished simulacra of a Rorschach “ink blot”. Like unending Russian dolls, it is as Douglas Crimp suggests, ‘’underneath each picture there is always another picture.” (D. Crimp, “Pictures,” October 8, Spring 1979, p. 87.)

    Abstraction, once meant to emancipate the artist from the tyranny of traditional representation, now has its own tradition. An artist from a new generation that includes Wade Guyton, Josh Smith, and Seth Price, Walker explores abstraction by combining the ready-made and the handmade in the present lot. Sleek, shimmering acrylic sheets are meticulously and deliberately hand carved with a router, rather than cut in an automated process, eliciting an elegant layered symmetry. The space reflected in the mirror gives the illusion of depth to the planar surface.

    Fiery colors, and the work’s title, ignite thoughts of a ferocious assault, while also offering the viewer the comfort of an easy answer to the psychologist’s question, “What do you see?” The present lot seduces the viewer not only with its glassy surface, but also with his own fragmented reflection.


I see an attacking bear-shaped thing

mirrored acrylic, in 4 parts
overall 95 1/8 x 96 3/4 in. (241.6 x 245.7 cm.)

$200,000 - 300,000 

Sold for $341,000

Contact Specialist
Zach Miner
Head of Sale
[email protected]
+1 212 940 1256

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York 16 May 2013 7pm