Christie’s New York to Auction Artworks by Jasper Johns and John Baldessari

Contemporary dance company Armitage Gone! Dance will benefit from the sale of artworks by seven major contemporary artists at Christie’s New York on November 9, 2011. The lots will form a prominent part of the auction house’s much watched Post War and Contemporary morning session. The artists participating in the special tribute sale, John Baldessari, Francesco Clemente, Eric Fischl, Jasper Johns, Jeff Koons, David Salle and Philip Taaffe have either collaborated with company founder Karole Armitage as stage designers or have been ardent followers of her work for many years.

The generous donations from the artists – Christie’s estimates values ranging from $18,000 to $250,000 – reflect a shared belief that the artistic contributions of Armitage Gone! Dance merit a continued place in the public arena. In addition to works on paper by Baldessari, Clemente, Johns, and Taaffe, a bronze sculpture by Fischl, and a canvas by Salle, the sale will feature a memorable costume from the choreographer’s 1989 collaboration with Jeff Koons. According to Armitage, “The best-kept secret in New York is the generosity of artists – they give with great compassion to a wide variety of causes. Their support for my company has been constant and steadfast. They are comrades in the advancement of a way of being.”

Armitage has long played a singular role in bringing the sights and sounds of contemporary art and life to the ballet stage. Cited as “a mature and original choreographer” by Time magazine, she has earned kudos from an array of publications including the New York Times, New Yorker, and Village Voice. Since her first collaboration with Christian Marclay in 1978, Armitage has been committed to an ambitious program of visual staging with some of the most important artists of her time. Some of the highlights of the past 30 years include collaborations with Carroll Dunham (Les Stances a Sophie, 1987), Jeff Koons (Contempt, 1989), Andrea Branzi (Pinocchio, 1998), Brice Marden (Orfeo ed Euridice, 2003), Philip Taaffe (Scheherazade, 1995 and Itutu, 2009), and numerous productions with David Salle including The Dog is Us (1994) and The Ligeti Essays (2005). According to Salle “Karole is like a force of nature. We all feel enriched by her work and want to see it flourish.”

Image: Jasper Johns, Figure 3, 2011, 14 3/4 x 11 3/8 in. Pencil on pasted paper Christie’s estimated value: $200,000 – $250,000.

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