PROVIDENCE, R.I. – On Wednesday, May 18, starting at 2 pm Eastern time, Vallot Auctioneers will feature contemporary art from several East Coast estates and collections. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
Offerings include a 1989 Barbara Kruger (American, b. 1945-) print dubbed Untitled (Printed Matter Matters) and estimated at $6,000-$8,000. The edition incorporates a range of printmaking techniques and was created in a signed edition of 50 as a benefit for Printed Matter. An example from the edition resides in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. Vallot’s auctioneer Michael Dym said of the lot, “What further distinguishes this rare print is that it’s in a handmade and hand-painted period frame done by the artist Ross Bleckner’s frame studio, BL Frames.” Dym added, “In the 1980s, Bleckner had taken over the former Mudd Club on White Street in Tribeca where he set up BL Frames. BL Frames was Kruger’s go-to framer. They would hand-paint frames and build them according to her specifications.”
Another notable lot in the auction is a John O’Reilly (American, 1930-2021), hand-constructed artist book, estimated at $800-$1,200. The book was created by O’Reilly and his life partner, the artist James Tellin, in 1996. It consists of 31 original photographs collaged into the text of W.H. Auden’s About The House, a book of poems about Auden’s house in Kirchsletten, Austria. The Auden volume was disassembled, collaged and reassembled by the artists. “O’Reilly had been a relatively obscure Worcester, Massachusetts-based artist until his work was shown at the 1995 Whitney Biennial. The consignor had then jumped on the chance to acquire this unique artist book and it hasn’t been seen since. If you ask me, the O’Reilly with Auden’s poems gets to the zeitgeist of Queer art and essence of O’Reilly and Tellin’s body of work,” Dym said.
Also on offer are eight paintings by Lisa Levy from her Thoughts in My Head series. Levy, a distinguished visual and performance artist, is known for her ongoing performance of Dr. Lisa, a self-proclaimed psychotherapist. Some of the Levy word paintings are recursive reflections on art, such as Lot 117, “This is a painting of another painting,” while others are psychologized jabs at contemporary self-reflections (Lot 115, “I’m a really uptight free spirit”) or are politically charged (Lot 113, “Motherhood seems like slavery to me.”) This last is estimated at $300-$500.
Among the Rhode Island-based artists represented in the lineup is the late Riva Leviten (1928-2014), who had lived in Providence. Dym said that he’s “pleased to be working with the Leviten estate to help them disseminate her work.” Leviten was known for experimenting with Gestalt therapy and Primal Scream sessions in her basement, and her visual art was preoccupied with psychological representations. Works by Leviten in the May 18 sale include Trusting, a 1999 encaustic on board estimated at $300-$500.
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