Mark Grotjahn - Contemporary Art Part II New York Thursday, November 13, 2008 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Anton Kern Gallery, New York

  • Catalogue Essay

    I do the things that I want to do. I paint abstract paintings because I like abstract paintings. I paint faces because I paint faces. I made abstract paintings and drawings when I was a kid; they were a kind of design. In high school I had a teacher that showed me Kandinsky, and then I read The Spiritual in Art, and that helped bring me to a point where I thought the designs I did were art.
    …When you look at the Flowers and the Faces, would you know that they were personal? Would you know that they were based on pictures originally drawn by my grandfather who was a psychiatrist? I don’t think that this information is readily available. I guess it is out there. It comes out in interviews like this, or if you talk to the gallerist, you can get it that way. But, in terms of the actual exhibition, I’m not sure how much this information really matters.
    …I started doing the funny Faces in the spirit of my grandfather, in the same way that when I trace his drawings, I know the sounds he made with every movement. I know what it sounds like, and I know what it looks like, when he drew them… The Faces came out in the spirit of him, although I don’t know that he would actually like the work, and maybe he would feel I was ripping him off, but, for what it’s worth, it’s still in the spirit of him. And, recently, among the last few Flower Faces, I did a portrait of myself and then a portrait of my wife… Maybe I captured something; if not the likeness, then maybe something else.
    …I believe there are relationships; it’s just that I’m not sure how concerned I am with being able to verbally exact them. There was a time when I really believed that if you were going to put out work in the public, as a responsible artist you should really know exactly what it is that you’re doing and be able to speak about it. Well, I definitely don’t think that you have to. Let’s just leave it at that.
    Mark Grotjahn, taken from J.Tumler, “Big Nose Baby and the Moose,” Flash Art, January - February 2007, p. 85


Untitled Face

Oil on natural cardboard. 
22 3/4 x 16 1/2 in. (57.8 x 41.9 cm).
Signed, titled and dated "Mark Grotjahn 'Untitled Face' 2004" on the reverse. 

$150,000 - 200,000 

Contemporary Art Part II

14 Nov 2008, 10am & 2pm
New York