Nate Lowman - Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Thursday, May 15, 2014 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Maccarone, New York

  • Exhibited

    New York, Maccarone, THE END And Other American Pastimes, November 6, 2005 – January 8, 2006

  • Catalogue Essay

    "America's built on's all manifest destiny; it's totally brutal."

    NATE LOWMAN, 2009

    Over the past decade Nate Lowman has utilized the effervescent and seemingly unending detritus of late Twentieth and early Twenty-first century American popular culture to stage an exploration of contemporary life that is as visually bombastic as it is intellectually precise. Lowman’s artistic vocabulary encompasses the visual nooks and crannies of everyday life ranging from the ironically banal “smiley face” to the ubiquitous evergreen shaped air freshener to silver screen and pin-up magazine siren Marilyn Monroe. Lowman states, “a lot of the images I use are already out there in the public or in the news. I just steal them or photograph them or repaint them, so they've already been talked about, already been consumed. I'm just reopening them to get at their second, third, or fourth meanings.” (Nate Lowman, Interview Magazine, 2009) In a sense Lowman’s artistic project is one of reanimation, of resurrecting the signs and symbols of our age that have been drained of life by their overexposure in popular culture.

    Dubbed one of “Warhol’s children,” Lowman draws upon the American Pop Art movement as filtered through a “Pictures Generation” and specifically Richard Prince tinted lens. While the Pop Art movement of the 1960s mixed a celebration of post-work American culture with an indication of its dark under-belly Lowman continues a preoccupation focused on the gritty dark side of American popular culture and lived experience. Lowman thoughtfully isolates prominent visual tropes of American culture and explores what his gallerist Michele Maccarone calls the “history of American violence.” (J. Bernstein, Why Isn’t This Man Smiling, The New York Times, December 26, 2012) The dark underside of the American dream is a prominent theme for Lowman, who calls his endearing smiley face icons “an anxious hysteria to appear happy.” (J. Bernstein, Why Isn’t This Man Smiling, The New York Times, December 26, 2012)

    The present lot, Skidmark Altima, 2005, made its premiere at Maccarone Gallery in an exhibition appropriately titled THE END And Other American Pastimes. In this continuing series of “bullet holes” Lowman is highlighting his fascination with the American obsession with the tropes, and far to often the actualities, of violence. For Lowman, the enlarged bullet-hole sticker has become a signifier of the American obsession with the commerciality of criminality and mischief. The series as typified by the present exceptional lot draws both from and comments on the uniquely American obsession with the iconic anti-hero. The series takes as its jumping-off point small decals that are purchased and affixed to automobiles to pantomime via a tromp l’oeil affect that the owner’s car has in fact been shot at. Lowman is here exposing and magnifying this strange use of an art (and art-historical) technique to attach a signifier of outlaw ness; he questioning what it means as a culture and as an individual to want to play act at having been shot at as though in a getaway car from a bank robbery or other altercation. As Lowman explains in an interview with Leo Fitzpatrick, “We can't communicate with each other-we can fight, we can kill, we can do those things well.” (Nate Lowman, Interview Magazine, 2009) The present lot packs visual punch as well as intellectual heft and is sure to go down in art history as hallmark work of one of the next generation of great American artists. Skidmark Altima, 2005, visually portrays the Pop-y, eye-catching force of American iconic symbols while carefully commenting on the sociological desensitization of mass media.


Skidmark Altima

silkscreen ink on canvas, laid on panel
35 x 26 in. (88.9 x 66 cm.)
Signed and dated "Nate Lowman 2005" on the reverse.

$300,000 - 400,000 

Sold for $485,000

Contact Specialist
Zach Miner
Head of Sale
+1 212 940 1256

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York Auction 15 May 2014 7PM