12
12
Glenn Brown
THE REVOLUTIONARY CORPS OF TEENAGE JESUS
Estimate
Irrevocable Bids
Lots with this symbol indicate that a party has provided Sotheby’s with an irrevocable bid on the lot that will be executed during the sale at a value that ensures that the lot will sell. The irrevocable bidder, who may bid in excess of the irrevocable bid, will be compensated based on the final hammer price in the event he or she is not the successful bidder or may receive a fixed fee in the event he or she is the successful bidder. If the irrevocable bidder is the successful bidder, the fixed fee (if applicable) for providing the irrevocable bid may be netted against the irrevocable bidder’s obligation to pay the full purchase price for the lot and the purchase price reported for the lot shall be net of such fixed fee. If the irrevocable bid is not secured until after the printing of the auction catalogue, a pre-lot announcement will be made indicating that there is an irrevocable bid on the lot. If the irrevocable bidder is advising anyone with respect to the lot, Sotheby’s requires the irrevocable bidder to disclose his or her financial interest in the lot. If an agent is advising you or bidding on your behalf with respect to a lot identified as being subject to an irrevocable bid, you should request that the agent disclose whether or not he or she has a financial interest in the lot.
UK: Greenford Park
Lots marked W will be sent to Greenford Park Fine Art Storage Facility immediately after the auction.
Artist's Resale Right
Purchase of lots marked with this symbol will be subject to the payment of the artist's resale right.
Double Dagger
Indicates that the lot is being sold whilst subject to Temporary Importation, and that VAT is due at the reduced rate
Guaranteed Property
Guaranteed Property. The seller of lots with this symbol has been guaranteed a minimum price from one auction or a series of auctions. If every lot in a catalogue is guaranteed, the Conditions of Sale will so state and this symbol will not be used for each lot.
700,0001,000,000
LOT SOLD. 1,030,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
12
Glenn Brown
THE REVOLUTIONARY CORPS OF TEENAGE JESUS
Estimate
Irrevocable Bids
Lots with this symbol indicate that a party has provided Sotheby’s with an irrevocable bid on the lot that will be executed during the sale at a value that ensures that the lot will sell. The irrevocable bidder, who may bid in excess of the irrevocable bid, will be compensated based on the final hammer price in the event he or she is not the successful bidder or may receive a fixed fee in the event he or she is the successful bidder. If the irrevocable bidder is the successful bidder, the fixed fee (if applicable) for providing the irrevocable bid may be netted against the irrevocable bidder’s obligation to pay the full purchase price for the lot and the purchase price reported for the lot shall be net of such fixed fee. If the irrevocable bid is not secured until after the printing of the auction catalogue, a pre-lot announcement will be made indicating that there is an irrevocable bid on the lot. If the irrevocable bidder is advising anyone with respect to the lot, Sotheby’s requires the irrevocable bidder to disclose his or her financial interest in the lot. If an agent is advising you or bidding on your behalf with respect to a lot identified as being subject to an irrevocable bid, you should request that the agent disclose whether or not he or she has a financial interest in the lot.
UK: Greenford Park
Lots marked W will be sent to Greenford Park Fine Art Storage Facility immediately after the auction.
Artist's Resale Right
Purchase of lots marked with this symbol will be subject to the payment of the artist's resale right.
Double Dagger
Indicates that the lot is being sold whilst subject to Temporary Importation, and that VAT is due at the reduced rate
Guaranteed Property
Guaranteed Property. The seller of lots with this symbol has been guaranteed a minimum price from one auction or a series of auctions. If every lot in a catalogue is guaranteed, the Conditions of Sale will so state and this symbol will not be used for each lot.
700,0001,000,000
LOT SOLD. 1,030,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

The History of Now: The Collection of David Teiger

|
London

Glenn Brown
B. 1966
THE REVOLUTIONARY CORPS OF TEENAGE JESUS
signed, titled and dated 2005 on the reverse
oil on panel
145 by 97.2 cm. 57 1/8 by 38 1/4 in.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Patrick Painter Gallery, Santa Monica

Acquired from the above by David Teiger in 2005

Exhibited

Los Angeles, Patrick Painter Gallery, Glenn Brown, April - May 2005

Liverpool, Tate Liverpool; Turin, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Glenn Brown, February - October 2009, p. 115, illustrated in colour

Literature

Balthasar Burkhard,Kai Althoff, Glenn Brown, Dana Schutz’, Parkett, No. 75, 2005, p. 129, illustrated in colour

Catalogue Note

At the heart of all of Glenn Brown’s paintings is an image. This image is most commonly a painting by a canonical artist, often by an expressionist such as Willem de Kooning, Karel Appel or Frank Auerbach. Uploaded and manipulated on Photoshop, the image undergoes a metamorphosis of distortion and inversion. Colours are altered, formations cropped and stretched, compositions mirrored and flipped – the work is made to bend to Brown’s will. The resultant image is projected or otherwise transferred on the surface to be painted, and provides a framework that limits what can happen next, beyond a faithful transference of colour and form. However, in Brown’s eyes, “the departure from the ‘original’ occurs the moment I have the notion to paint the painting and only stops when it is finished” (Glenn Brown in conversation with Laurence Sillars, in: Exh. Cat. Tate Liverpool, Glenn Brown, 2009, p. 140). Indeed, the liberties that Brown takes with his source material do not cease when he picks up his brush. Although he meticulously renders the brushstrokes visible in his manipulated base image, he also “inserts impasto brush marks where none had previously existed… [adds] bright highlights… [and] thin glazes of translucent, tinted varnishes to include a feeling of depth” (Michael Stubbs, ‘Glenn Brown: No Visible Means of Support’, in: ibid., p.103).

These manipulations, forceful insertions of the artist’s hand into what would otherwise be an exercise in transposition, are pivotal to Glenn Brown’s practice, and are what distinguishes him conceptually from artists such as Richard Prince and Sherrie Levine. Although there are definite appropriative strains in Brown’s work, the process of creation and alteration is instrumental to the conceptual rigour of the paintings. The illusion of the Dionysian ecstasy that consumed the American Abstract Expressionists, the preposterous idea that these were men thoughtlessly hurling the contents of their soul onto the canvas, is lampooned by Brown, who will spend hours creating a precise, flattened simulacrum of this ‘moment’ of inspiration. Indeed, Clement Greenberg’s famous criticism of realism, that it is “using art to conceal art” could be judiciously applied to Glenn Brown’s painting (Clement Greenberg, ‘Modernist Painting’, 1961, reproduced in: Richard Kostelanetz, Ed., Esthetics Contemporary, Buffalo 1978, p. 196). Just as Roy Lichtenstein satirised the painters out of whose shadow he emerged with his Brushstroke paintings, which flatten and simplify the loaded gesture of the tortured abstract artist, Brown removes the textural evidence of the means of production, but retains its visual impact.

The Revolutionary Corps of Teenage Jesus epitomises this effect. Included in his pivotal travelling survey exhibition which started at Tate Liverpool in 2009, the work draws its title from a little known 1999 collaborative project between Alan Vega (of the musical double act Suicide) and Steve Lironi (of the new wave/post punk bank Altered Images). The title is somewhat ironic, as the work recalls a corpse more than a corps, with the flayed flesh and thriving flowers lending a morbid overtone to the piece. Indeed, Brown is the Doctor Frankenstein of art. He cannibalises the masters, skinning them, combining them and stitching them together. However, as Francesco Bonami, the curator of the Turin leg of his 2009 exhibition, observed, “the experiment never works… the paintings decay in the process of coming to life” (Francesco Bonami, ‘Paintophagia’, in: Exh. Cat. Tate Liverpool, op. cit., p. 72).

Based on a Frank Auerbach portrait inverted in the style of a Georg Baselitz painting and subsequently distorted beyond recognition by Brown’s digital methods, The Revolutionary Corps of Teenage Jesus evinces a desperate struggle between Brown’s source material and the final painting. Laurence Sillars, curator of the artist’s Tate Liverpool exhibition, described this work as “the culmination… of a battle between subject and form”, and there can be no doubt that the formlessness of the work is one of the principal reasons for its extraordinary presence (Glenn Brown in conversation with Laurence Sillars, in: ibid., p. 143). It presents a conundrum to the viewer; there is an upturned head perhaps, which we are sat below, gazing up the flared nostrils of the subject. Or maybe it is a foot, with what was previously the chin becoming a heel, the neck a calf. There is no definitive answer. Speaking of this tendency, the artist humorously observed “as painting is difficult it is better to encourage the viewer to do as much work as possible” before going on to state that formlessness “can also be a subversive or degenerate tool. It implies that no single perception is correct… There is no perfect form, it is the slippage between forms that is important” (Ibid., p. 144).

The peculiar capacity of formlessness to effect this implication is pivotal. Glenn Brown’s art demands that the viewer acknowledge this liminal space that he creates. It is a space not only between forms but between media, an open refutation of Walter Benjamin’s critique of art in an age of mechanical reproduction. These are works that exist because of technology’s capacity to reproduce, and yet they deny it the pleasure of doing so.

The History of Now: The Collection of David Teiger

|
London