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14

TWO WORKS FROM THE FALCKENBERG COLLECTION

Richard Prince
I’M NOT LINDA
Estimate
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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.
1,400,0001,800,000
LOT SOLD. 1,755,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
14

TWO WORKS FROM THE FALCKENBERG COLLECTION

Richard Prince
I’M NOT LINDA
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.
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.
1,400,0001,800,000
LOT SOLD. 1,755,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Evening Auction

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London

Richard Prince
B. 1949
I’M NOT LINDA
signed, titled and dated 1992 on the overlap
acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas
142.7 by 121.9 cm. 56 1/8 by 48 in.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Patrick Painter, Los Angeles
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2000

Exhibited

Hanover, Kestner Gesellschaft Hannover, Ziviler Ungehorsam. Die Sammlung Falckenberg, April - June 2001, pp. 23-25 and 86, illustrated in colour
Basel, Kunstmuseum Basel, Painting on the Move, May - September 2002, p. 138, illustrated in colour
Humlebaek, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, I Hate You, January - April 2004, p. 102, illustrated in colour
Vienna, Kunsthalle Wien; Munich, Museum Villa Stuck; and Kiel, Kunsthalle Kiel, True Romance – Allegories of Love from the Renaissance to the Present, October 2007 - September 2009, p. 202, illustrated in colour
Hamburg, Deichtorhallen Hamburg, Zwei Sammler. Thomas Olbricht. Harald Falckenberg, June - August 2011, n.p. (text)

Literature

Bazon Brock, Harald Falckenberg and Zdenek Felix, Eds., Klopfen. Sammlung Falckenberg, Regensburg 2001, p. 155, illustrated in colour

Catalogue Note

"A joke is an initiation – it works the same way as all initiation rites, from tribal secret societies to modern Masonic lodges to the circles of those initiated in art. Every initiation is structured like a joke. At its end is an epiphanic punch line. Do you get it?"

Glenn O’Brien cited in New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, Richard Prince, May - July 1992, p. 112.

Executed in 1992, I’m Not Linda belongs to Richard Prince’s seminal series of monochrome Joke Paintings which he began in 1987. For this iconic group of works, Prince fused the crass content of low-brow cartoon humour with the high-minded aesthetic of monochrome painting to create individual vignettes of arresting conceptual impact. Within this concise group, the present work tells a joke that is as amusing today as it was in 1992.

Emerging amongst the appropriation artists of the 1980s, Prince stood out owing to the distinctive coolness of his work. While many of the re-photographers of his generation were inspired by postmodern theories on authenticity and originality, Prince’s work alternatively reflected a decidedly American cultural influence through his fascination with cowboys, bikers, cars, and low-brow American humour. After his iconic series of Untitled (Cowboy) photographs of the early 1980s, in which Prince appropriated advertising imagery to comment on archetypes of the American dream, Prince looked to incorporate humour and jokes into his work. Like the found sources used for his photographs, the artist appropriated jokes found in cartoon-strips. As Prince has explained, these were initially turned into hand-drawn copies on paper: “Artists were casting sculptures in bronze, making huge paintings, talking about prices and clothes and cars and spending vast amounts of money. So I wrote jokes on little pieces of paper and sold them for $10 each” (Richard Prince cited in: Exh. Cat., New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Richard Prince: Spiritual America, 2007, p. 37).

Following the initial hand-written jokes and subsequent works in which cartoon images were silkscreened onto canvas, Prince soon embarked on a more radical approach that banished any form of illustration. Daring his viewers to take a lewd one-liner for a serious work of art, Prince began cataloguing found-jokes in 1985, stripping them down to their bare linguistic essentials. Shortly afterwards, these typed-out gags were turned into the iconic series of monochrome Jokes to which the present work belongs. Against backgrounds of flat strident colour, Prince silkscreened his san-serif jokes in contrasting hues. By presenting the very antithesis of the Neo-Expressionist style of painting that had come to dominate the late-1980s artistic milieu, the monochrome Jokes arrived as seditious and rebellious. Instead of opting for the expressive, gestural application of paint that was so lauded in contemporaneous taste, Prince silkscreened his jokes onto loosely painted monochrome surfaces to create works that simultaneously negated and substantiated the trace of artistic gesture. However, this is not to say that he did not consider them paintings. As he playfully remarked: “The ‘joke’ paintings are abstract. Especially in Europe, if you can’t speak English” (Richard Prince cited in: Exh. Cat., Oslo, Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Richard Prince: Canaries in the Coal Mine, 2006, p. 124).

I’m Not Linda confronts the viewer with a strangely puzzling juxtaposition of minimalist composition and silkscreened words. Although this can be read as a reference to postmodern linguistic theory, the work also points to two quintessentially American characteristics: hard-edge abstraction and popular humour. Cleverly subverting the clean and serious vernacular of abstract painting, the Jokes' amalgamation of low and high culture characterises Prince’s most important work. Wittingly parodying popular gags heard in everyday parlance, the artist found a way of incorporating a universal human condition – humour – into a deeply serious and resolutely intellectual form of artistic expression.

Contemporary Art Evening Auction

|
London