price of the auction reaching a fantastic $96,100 against an estimate of $10,000-$15,000. According to the Christie’s press release “Conner was a key artist in the development of assemblage art, a movement of found-object sculpture that critic Peter Plagens defined as “the first home-grown California modern art.” Hopper’s collection boasts several Conner works, including this multi-layered work that employs fabric, printed paper, plastic, string and even an acorn”. A verifax collage by Wallace Berman proved popular finding favour with a US buyer who paid $42,500, going well beyond the $12,000 to $18,000 estimate. Also included in the sale were collages by Viggo Mortensen and Llyn Foulkes; a collage by Lyn Foulkes titled ‘The Scene that is God’s Mouth’ was purchased by the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles.
Collages also proved popular on the gallery side of the market during 2010 with Gagosian Gallery holding an exhibition of discarded object sculptures and photographic collages by Nancy Rubin from June to July. Victoria Miro extended their exhibition of renowned collage artist Tom Lubbock who passed away less than a month after the exhibition closed. According to the gallery website, “Tom Lubbock died on Sunday 9 January 2011. In tribute to him Victoria Miro Gallery will reopen his exhibition on Saturday 15 & Saturday 22 January. This exhibition of beautifully crafted paper collages, provides the first opportunity to see a small selection of works made weekly by Tom Lubbock for the Saturday edition of The Independent between 1999 and 2004”.
The current fascination and focus on the 2D and 3D versions of “found object” assemblages tells us more about the market than you may realise. Erik Davis gave an excellent explanation of the allure of found objects in an article he wrote titled ‘The Alchemy of Trash, the West Coast of Spiritual Collage’. According to Davis:
“Duncan (Robert Duncan) praises the outsider artist, who goes against the grain, risks height, ignores dogma. This is all part of our “alternative” myth these days, but it remains to be seen whether the margins still exist — culturally, economically, spiritually — that could allow such creative feats to flourish. Juxtaposition has become an advertiser’s art. Trash is not the same thing today, in our belated self-conscious world of thrift-store savvy, mediated hipster rebellion, and omniverous collector mania. Before you know it, it’s on Ebay. Many of us still hear the spiritual call of redemptive refuse, of glimmers, junk, and “bits of beauty.” But it remains to be seen whether we can join the ranks of those who, in Ginsberg’s howling words, “dreamt and made incarnate gaps in Time & Space through images juxtaposed…”.
In a world that is so obsessed with material possessions, and that is so influenced by commercialism, it is inevitable that there will be times when the world becomes disillusioned with this particular path of progression and the objects associated with it. In my opinion the false, shallow and impersonal nature of the material world we live in is more than enough reason