Kelley Walker - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Tuesday, October 14, 2014 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Galerie Catherine Bastide, Brussels

  • Catalogue Essay

    Incorporating images from advertising and mass-media into his oeuvre, artist Kelley Walker brings attention to the issues underlying the American psyche, namely: race, politics and consumerism. While Walker openly admits that he dislikes association with 'appropriation art,' it is difficult not to draw comparison with earlier Pop Art stalwarts like Andy Warhol. The present lot, a triptych entitled Black Star Press (Black Star, Black Press, Star Press), easily recalls Warhol’s Disaster series, particularly the images of race riots executed in the early 1960s. While Warhol created these paintings as a reaction to events as they were unfolding, Walker’s sensibility is notably “meta.” He uses archival images taken during the Birmingham, Alabama race riots—images which are now a half-century-old. Speaking about Walker’s work, artist Glenn Ligon expressed the distinctly American conundrum with race that Kelley Walker so boldly explores 'his [Walker] work forces us to acknowledge that although race is a biological fiction, it remains an entrenched social and political fact.' (Glenn Ligon, Parkett, 2010, p. 79)

    Kelley Walker’s treatment of subject matter is tangible and direct. Not only do the billboard-sized canvases confront the viewer, but their surfaces seem to react against the intense images of racial unrest. The visual explosion of pigment is, in fact, a controlled silkscreen application of various types of melted chocolate, from white to dark. This choice of materials is almost comical, if not inappropriate. Black Star Press is a pointed, post-modern, look into the dysfunctional and nuanced history of race in America.


Black Star Press (Black Star, Black Press, Star Press)

silkscreened white, milk and dark chocolate on digital print on canvas laid on board, in 3 parts
each 91.6 x 71.2 cm (36 1/8 x 28 in.)
One panel signed, titled and dated 'Black Star Press, Black Press, Kelley 2005' on the reverse; one panel titled 'Star Press' on the reverse; one panel titled 'Black Star' on the reverse.

£150,000 - 250,000 

Sold for £194,500

Contact Specialist
Peter Sumner
Head of Contemporary Art, London
+44 207 318 4063

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 15 October 2014 7pm