Tim Noble and Sue Webster - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Tuesday, October 4, 2016 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Modern Art, London
    Acquired directly from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Los Angeles, Gagosian Gallery, Tim Noble & Sue Webster: Instant Gratification, 10 November - 22 December, 2001, n.p. (another example exhibited)
    New York, Friedrich Petzel Gallery, Electrify Me, June, 2001 (another example exhibited)
    New York, MoMA PS 1, Tim Noble and Sue Webster, 12 October - 29 December, 2003 (another example exhibited)
    Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, Tim Noble & Sue Webster, 21 April - 6 September, 2004, n.p. (another example exhibited and illustrated)
    Dresden, Deutsches Hygiene-Museum, Die Zehn Gebote: Politik – Moral – Gesellschaft, 2004, p. 45 (another example exhibited and illustrated)
    New York, Pace Gallery, Burning, Bright: A Short History of the Light Bulb, 28 October - 26 November, 2011 (another example exhibited)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Dazzling and extravagant, ostentatious and unashamed, Tim Noble and Sue Webster’s $ is a luminous, monumental embodiment of the aphorism, all that glitters is not gold. With its waves of brightening and dimming light, $ is a hypnotic, seductive, yet also critical, comment upon the mirage-like promises that are proffered to us all in everyday life in capitalist society. The light show is animated, adding an intense visual flamboyance to its display—yet its elusive waves of darkness hint at a certain fragility, at the emptiness and darkness lurking behind such a potent symbol as the dollar sign. This may be a beacon guiding the passer-by towards the easy waters of wealth, or the cliffs of oblivion. It is only too fitting that an example of $ was included in ‘Instant Gratification’, Noble and Webster’s 2001 solo exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills. At that show, the eponymous centrepiece was one of their famous shadow sculptures, in which their profiles could be glimpsed, projected by a fluttering, seemingly-amorphous mound of dollar bills.

    The shimmering light effects of $ recall the dazzling neon extravaganza of the ‘Strip’ in Las Vegas, a city which fascinated the two artists when they visited it. The desert city in Nevada, which has become such a place of pilgrimage for gamblers, is the ultimate distillation of the capitalist drive, of the risk-all mentality, and of the oft-fatal lure of the ever-imminent win which pushes the punter further towards the precipice. The artists were fascinated by the glamour, the decadence and the kitsch that was all on such flagrant display there. But Las Vegas is just a concentrated version of everyday life in the consumer realm: our culture is dominated by the hollow sheen of celebrity, the bling-bling of advertising, the hollow promise held out by big business and big brands. And what brand is bigger than the dollar itself? The cultural currency of this symbol is global. It was its nature as an endemic icon that led Warhol to use it in his own works. In $, Noble and Webster have presented a gleeful, bright, brash update to Warhol’s own Dollar Sign - this is Pop Art on steroids.



204 ice white turbo reflector caps, lamps, holders and daisy washers, lacquered brass, electronic light sequencer (3-channel shimmer effect)
182.9 x 129.5 x 24.8 cm (72 x 50 7/8 x 9 3/4 in.)
Executed in 2001, this work is number 3 from an edition of 5 plus 1 artist's proof. This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artists.

£60,000 - 80,000 Ω♠

Sold for £87,500

Contact Specialist
Peter Sumner
Head of Contemporary Art, London
+44 207 318 4063

Henry Highley
Head of Sale
+ 44 20 7318 4061

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 5 October 2016