This tiny 8 x 10″ work of art was the basis for Sonic Youth’s album cover, Goo, in 1990. Over the weekend, Santa Monica Auctions offered the work with an estimate in the range of $20-30k.
The work ended up selling for $181,250 or slightly more than six times the high estimate. That price puts the work in Pettibon’s top ten prices achieved in a public sale, according to Artnet’s database, in the final spot.
All the works above the album cover are substantially larger and, all but one, have color in the composition.
It’s safe to assume then that the value in this particular work comes from its notoriety and pop culture relevance.