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  • Provenance

    neugerriemschneider, Berlin
    Private Collection, Los Angeles
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Luxembourg, Musée d'Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Michel Majerus, December 13, 2006 - August 16, 2007

  • Catalogue Essay

    "You can no longer make art that is just art." Michel Majerus

    The temporal, poetic and deeply esoteric body of work left in the wake of Michel Majerus’s untimely death represents a vast amalgamation of expressive brushwork, bold text, and sampled imagery. His art is unimposing, yet often tremendously scaled, woven into the fabric of popular culture and still distinct, enduring and somehow radical even today. While graphics pulled from magazine pages and towering billboards played a significant role in many of his works, the experimental approach he took to letters and color prove profoundly imaginative, operating independently as visual stimuli in a rhythmic narrative. It is of this profound union of text and color that the present lot MoM block Nr. 88 is born, and we come to experience the ease with which Majerus was able to relinquish long-held arguments over the validity of painting that had plagued the previous era.

    The present lot, MoM block Nr. 88 of 1999, brazenly broadcasts the phrase “love you” in German in grassy-green block lettering against a brilliant barrage of pastel peach, sky blue and rosy acrylic swaths. In 1996, the artist established a makeshift studio in an abandoned factory in Berlin, formerly the East German Modezentrum Mitte, colloquially, “MoM”. So was the inception of the MoM blocks, methodically arranged canvases with the criteria of acrylic paint media and in two sizes only. Continuing the series long after departing his small studio, he completed over 170 MoM blocks by the dawn of the new millennium. Though the definition of this series might seem restrictive or even contrary to artistic experimentation, it is a painter who reveals himself in the MoM blocks, inspired by Willem de Kooning’s color and his teacher Joseph Kosuth’s language-driven compositions.

    MoM block Nr. 88 is an electric example from the visual vocabulary of Majerus, a world of infinite possibility, in which any combination of the alphabet or colors could instantaneously surface in a painting. Curator Daniel Birnbaum emphatically states, “What’s interesting in Majerus’ work is the radical sense of presence it conveys, and its complete lack of sentimentality. It’s ugly, it’s spectacular, it’s superficial, but there is no reason to moralize or indulge in melancholic reflections upon the loss of authenticity. Majerus does not mourn the death of painting, but instead celebrates the abundance of imagery accumulated throughout the history of art, and generated today with increasing speed by the media and new information technologies” (D. Birnbaum, “The Power of Now”, in Frieze, Issue 34, May 1997). At once, the MoM blocks each detail a particular universe of the artist’s own making.

23

MoM block Nr. 88

1999
acrylic on canvas
63 x 55 1/4 in. (160 x 140.3 cm)
Signed, titled and dated "Majerus 99 MoM block Nr. 88" on the reverse.

Estimate
$30,000 - 50,000 

Sold for $43,750

Contact Specialist
Rebekah Bowling
Head of Sale
New York
+ 1 212 940 1250

New Now Evening Sale

New York Auction 29 February 2016 6pm