DEAR BILL GATES (TRIPTYCH)
mural-sized Cibachrome print, comprised of a sequence of 3 negatives printed together, flush-mounted to aluminium, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and Christopher Grimes Gallery labels on the reverse, and a typed letter, each framed, 1999, no. 5 in an edition of 5 (2)
Photograph 28 by 103 in. (71.1 by 261.6 cm.)
Letter 10¾ by 8¼ in. (27.3 by 21 cm.)
While the Cibachrome print and typed letter have not been examined out of the frames, they appear to be in generally excellent condition. The colors of the Cibachrome print remain bright and saturated with no apparent fading.
A few scratches, mainly contained within the right margin of the Cibachrome print, are visible under raking light only. There is a small rust-colored deposit, possibly foxing, along the upper edge of the letter.
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, exhibition label incorrectly editions this print '1/5.'
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.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
Los Angeles, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Flight Patterns, November 2000 - February 2001
In 1999, Allan Sekula, whose art and writing often dealt with the relationship between art and technology, created Dear Bill Gates, a creative action in which he swam as close as he could to the Microsoft founder’s house in Seattle. Accompanying this photograph is a typed, anonymous letter written on a manual typewriter that references Gates’ purchase of Winslow Homer’s painting Lost on the Grand Banks. He described the action as follows:
‘Recently I wrote a letter to a man who embodies the new paradigm of the global archivist, the facilitator of the new virtual and disembodied family of man. He's no Steichen, since he refuses the role of the grand paternalistic editor, preferring in a more veiled manner to manage the global archive and retrieval system from which any number of pictorial statements might be constructed. In effect, he allows his clients to play in the privacy of their homes the role of mini-Steichen, perusing vast quantities of images from around the world, culling freely-but for a price-with meaning in mind’ (‘Between the Net and the Deep Blue Sea (Rethinking the Traffic in Photographs),’ October, Vol. 102, Autumn 2002, p. 4).