Ken Price - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Morning Session New York Wednesday, November 16, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Small and highly rendered, “abstract” yet “overly specific,”i Price’s sculptures have a powerful, charged quality, and Zazz is no exception. Executed in 2004, the sculpture revels in its biomorphic form. Swathes of clay swirl downwards, like molten lava on the run. Colored pockmarks spark the surface of the piece – jewel-like glints beneath a mass of deep purple-gray. The sculpture plays on tension. It can look pre-historic and futuristic at the same time; organic yet totally manufactured. Price’s process was unique - he formed mounds of clay which, once fired in the kiln, he painted with multiple layers of different colors. The surface was then sanded down, revealing the color hidden beneath. The finish is the result of a reductive process, and the viewer is left asking: what else hides beneath the surface?

    "To view Price’s intimately scaled work as they evolved over a career of 50 years is to appreciate how his unrelenting quest for new forms and possibilities led ultimately to a redefinition of contemporary sculpture."
    —Tom Campbell, former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Artii
    Price’s work proves crucial in the development and elevation of ceramic craft to fine art that has taken place in the last fifty years. His work, which spans sculpture, drawing, printmaking, painting, and crockery, displays a unique vision of the world – one pounding with artificial color and characterized by a desire to push what art can do.

    i Roberta Smith, “Ken Price, Sculptor Whose Artworks Helped Elevate Ceramics, Dies at 77,” The New York Times, February 24, 2012, online
    ii Statement from the opening of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibition: Ken Price Sculpture: Retrospective, 2013

    • Provenance

      Matthew Marks Gallery, New York
      Acquired from the above by the present owner



fired and painted clay
13 x 12 x 12 1/2 in. (33 x 30.5 x 31.8 cm)
Executed in 2004.

Full Cataloguing

$150,000 - 200,000 

Sold for $189,000

Contact Specialist

Annie Dolan
Specialist, Head of Day Sale, Morning Session
+1 212 940 1288

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Morning Session

New York Auction 16 November 2022