Lot 39
  • 39

CADY NOLAND | Untitled

400,000 - 600,000 GBP
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  • Cady Noland
  • Untitled 
  • silkscreen ink on aluminium 
  • 122 by 305 cm. 48 by 120 in.
  • Executed in 1989.


Massimo de Carlo Arte Contemporanea, Milan
Phillips, New York, 15 November 2007, Lot 1
Acquired from the above sale by the present owner


Exh. Cat., Tokyo, Tokyo Museum of Contemporary Art, Strange Abstraction: Robert Gober, Cady Noland, Philip Taaffe, Christopher Wool, June - August 1991, p. 68, illustrated


Colour: The colours in the catalogue illustration are fairly accurate, although the illustration fails to fully convey the reflective nature of the mirrored aluminium surface in the original. Condition: Please refer to the department for a professional condition report.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

In Cady Noland’s enigmatic mirrored sculpture Untitled (1989), the artist’s critical visions come to fruition with exemplary potency. Rendered in silkscreen ink on reflective aluminium, the alluring aesthetic brevity of the work masks the fascinating, manifold undercurrents that are characteristic of Noland’s style. One of the most elusive practitioners of the contemporary art world, Noland’s sculptural practice is prescient, subversive, monumental and compelling. Evoking the austere brutality of Minimalism – a movement with which her father, Kenneth Noland, is often aligned – and channelling the ideology of Americanism that upholds the ready-made, the patriotic and powerful, Noland’s oeuvre deconstructs the latent psychopathology of the American Dream with supreme formal acuity. In the present work, the artist has silkscreened newspaper and magazine fragments of Patty Hearst, the infamous granddaughter of media magnate William Randolph Hearst, over the polished surface of mirrored aluminium. Like Andy Warhol before her, Noland’s interest in media culture and the phenomena of the ‘fifteen minutes of fame’ emerges in a gripping, documentarian form, repurposing the photography of the news story as a symbol of the artist’s investigation into the disposition of contemporary America. In Untitled, Noland appropriates the notorious images of Patty Hearst as ‘Tanya’ – her adopted pseudonym during her association with the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) – standing in front of the cobra insignia of the leftist radical group, and brandishing an automatic firearm. Kidnapped in 1974 by the SLA, Hearst was coerced into joining the anti-capitalist faction and remained at large until her capture by the FBI in September 1975. For Noland, the ‘fall from grace’ of one of America’s most eminent families highlights the volatility of the entrepreneurial ideal and the precarious nature of socio-political systems. In her self-penned essay of 1987 titled Towards a Metalanguage of Evil, Noland writes: “the psychopath shares the societally sanctioned characteristics of the entrepreneurial male” (Cady Noland cited in: Kito Nedo, ‘Cady Noland’s American Nightmare’, Frieze, 3 December 2018, online). Emerging alongside the likes of Bret Easton Ellis in the 1980s, Noland’s post-punk approach chimes in with a broad school of thought from the period that aimed its critique at Reaganomics and the consolidation of Neoliberal politics in the West. Such ideas underpin Noland’s artistic endeavour: in the present work they are woven into the geometric functionality of her material that alludes to her Minimalist predecessors such as Donald Judd and Robert Morris, embedding in her sculpture a stark, gleaming testament to the resilience of capitalism.   

Noland rose to international recognition at the 44th Venice Biennale in 1990. Just a year later, her work was included in the prestigious Whitney Biennial. Untitled is an exemplary work from Noland’s oeuvre that identifies her as a breakthrough voice of contemporary American art. Electrifying and attention-grabbing, the present work conjures the Warholian mediated image and the celebrity persona non grata, galvanising her images through an exacting formal vocabulary that echoes the compositions of John Baldessari and the shimmering, mirrored surfaces of Michelangelo Pistoletto. Noland is irrefutably a stalwart artist of her time. Reviewing Noland’s recent survey at the Frankfurt Museum für Moderne Kunst, art critic Kito Nedo writes: “Such works have an eerie prescience, despite their age… As in a mirror, such disquieting practices may be closer than they appear” (Kito Nedo, ibid.).

This work is accompanied by a photograph signed by the artist Statement from the Artist:
In an atmosphere of rapidly trading artwork, it is not possible for Cady Noland to agree or dispute the various claims behind works attributed to her. Her silence about published assertions regarding the provenance of any work or the publication of a photograph of a work does not signify agreement about claims that are being made. Ms. Noland has not been asked for nor has she given the rights to any photographs of her works or verified their accuracy or authenticity.