Nate Lowman - Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Thursday, November 13, 2014 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York

  • Exhibited

    New York, Barbara Gladstone Gallery, Bridge Freezes Before Road, curated by Neville Wakefield, 2005

  • Catalogue Essay

    "I do believe that I will see the apocalypse in my lifetime. And when it comes, I'm not repenting for anything I've done." Nate Lowman, 2012

    A visual flood of grit, menace, and violence enraptures the viewer upon sight of the present lot, Nate Lowman’s Outdoor Bullethole #1, 2005. The bullethole embodies aggression yet is referentially balanced by the cartoon-esque deliberation with which the work is crafted. Lowman’s masterful construction of the cavernous void left by the trail of an imaginary bullet sharply piercing a city wall, juxtaposed with the delicately frivolous Ben-day dots, speaks to a deep-seated, primal fear that inundates American contemporary culture. Darkly poetic in its raw appeal and energetic in its earnest inquiry of Pop Art, the present lot eschews a faint though poignant notion of genesis in its implication of destruction. In the production of a violent iconography, the work lays the foundation for healing the deeply entrenched wound and a fundamental breeding ground for new optimism.

    Though many critics are quick to point to Lowman’s influences in his Pop predecessors—the skillful cultural appropriation of Andy Warhol, the posturing dots of Roy Lichtenstein—one could further argue that Lowman is the definitive product of contemporary disaster and the post-9/11 era of New York. The 9/11 attacks provoked an inherent fascination with fear and its grotesque elemental effects on the human psyche, sparking an investigation of the nonsensically violent and the morose. “Soon after that I got my first studio in Bed-Stuy,” the artist has said. “It was like, ‘If you want to go do something, do it now.’” The Bullethole series is the apex of this urgent investigation by Lowman.

    Outdoor Bullethole #1 expertly exemplifies Lowman’s propensity to both rectify and subsequently elevate the fragments of the American media’s voracious appetite for disaster. The dots, while tempering the brutality of the crater, specifically insinuate casual mass production and thereby highlight the ghastly numbing that occurs when stories of death are the norm in media culture. In the creation of his Bullethole series, Lowman actively attempts, and one may argue succeeds, to raise this desensitizing practice to the realm of high art and outwardly embraces the consequences in its painful wake, with the only the slightest sense that in illustrating death, we may grasp what it means to be alive.


Outdoor Sculpture (Bullethole #1)

silkscreen on aluminum
37 x 33 in. (94 x 83.8 cm)
This work is unique.

$200,000 - 300,000 

Contact Specialist
Amanda Stoffel
Head of Evening Sale
New York
+ 1 212 940 1261

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York Auction 13 November 2014 7pm