As the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic sweeps across the art market, closing down public auctions until the summer, many sale series have moved online. Last week, Sotheby's announced a new series of online sales for its modern and contemporary categories this Spring, along with a selection of highlights for the Contemporary Day sale which will be open for bidding on May 4.
Among the highlights for the works on offer in the contemporary day sale segment will be Richard Prince's black acrylic silkscreen on canvas 3 Jokes Painted to Death from 1987. Renowned for his method of cultivating his content from commercial mass media, Prince has likened his approach to beach-combing. In the first half of the 1980s he began collecting comic material from advertisements, magazines and editorials which he would later repurpose for the Joke paintings. The triptych on offer at Sotheby's comes from the early period of the seminal series, from 1987 to 1992, when the artist graduated from recording one-liners on pieces of paper and collecting the phrases, to reproducing them on monochrome screen-printed canvases. As an early piece, the black work is notably different than the highly saturated large-scale counterparts done in the 1990s that surface at auction for prices between $3-5 million.
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