Rob Pruitt - Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale New York Thursday, March 6, 2014 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist
    Dallas Contemporary, Dallas

  • Catalogue Essay

    “I’m very interested in the way American culture sort of celebrates and craves a certain period of bad behavior in people and then I started to think about how the life of the artist is a sort of permanent rumspringa, how artists are allowed by society to be the ones who get to act crazy and drunk for everyone else.” - Rob Pruitt

    Art world agitator Rob Pruitt’s Untitled of 2011 is a superb example of the artist’s ability to elevate and glamorize even the most mundane and regular materials - here tires and M&M’s - into a higher synthesis of art and culture. Focusing on textures and patterns, the painted tires and candies form a sort of totem to consumerism and the even the mechanisms which make it all possible. The seeming solidity and weightiness of the tires belies their hollow interiors even as they proffer up candies to the viewer. Equal parts beautified object and cultural commentary, the work was originally conceived as part of a show that celebrated the Amish tradition of “rumspringa.” Rumspringa, which is Pennsylvania German for “running around,” is the time when Amish youth are permitted and even encouraged to explore and adventure outside of the community and engage in those activities which are traditionally off-limits before either returning and being baptized or leaving and choosing a life outside the community. Pruitt, in his progressively cheeky fashion, enjoys acting out the rumspringa, as he believes all artists are entitled and enabled to do so, on behalf of the rest of the general, law-abiding and restrained public. It is an exercise which lends his art an immediacy and connection, an activity that he has performed throughout his career. Infamous for the groundbreaking and controversial Red, Black, Green, Red, White and Blue show where he and his partner, Early, attempted to connect the world of African-American culture to the high minded art community of the day, Pruitt was redeemed by his 1997 show at Gavin Brown where he exhibited a massive fountain filled with Evian bottles and glitter encrusted Evian cartons in a sort of baptismal font. Eventually vindicated by his Cocaine Buffet show which consisted of a single 16-foot line of cocaine bisecting a gallery floor which has been overlaid with one giant mirror, Pruitt’s artistic activity and visual flair demonstrate a spiritual elegance and an understanding of how to connect seemingly disparate contexts, giving the viewer the opportunity to be engaged in his or her own existence with an eye on the outside world.



4 tires, hub-cap, black and white M&M's
43 x 52 in. (109.2 x 132.1 cm.)

$30,000 - 50,000 

Sold for $37,500

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

Alex Heminway, Design
+ 1 212 940 1268

Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale

New York Evening Sale 6 March 2014 7pm