Christie’s recently announced that this season’s 21st Century Evening Sale will be led by a duo of masterpiece sculptures: Jeff Koons’ Jim Beam – J. B. Turner Train (estimate: $15,000,000-20,000,000) and Charles Ray’s Revolution Counter-Revolution (estimate: $3,000,000-5,000,000). The works, by two of the most renowned contemporary artists of our time, both come to Christie’s from the same prized private European collection, together challenging one’s perception of quotidian objects and exploring timeless themes of movement, physical space, childhood, and novelty.
Isabella Lauria, Christie’s Head of the 21st Century Evening Sale, says, “We are thrilled to present two pillars of Contemporary sculpture in conversation: Jeff Koons’ Jim Beam – J.B. Turner Train and Charles Ray’s Revolution Counter-Revolution. Each one is a masterpiece within the Contemporary Art canon, and sharing references to every day, these works offer a subtle yet powerful commentary on commodification, our perception of reality, and the divide within our collective cultural consciousness. We are pleased to showcase these objects that so accurately demonstrate the craftsmanship, conceptual mastery, and wit of two Contemporary icons.”
Jeff Koons’ stainless steel sculptures are among the defining artworks of a generation. This 1986 example, Jim Beam – J. B. Turner Train marks one of the artist’s first forays into highly polished steel as a medium, a moment that marked a triumph in his career and that he continues to use even today. Filled with Jim Beam bourbon, the sculpture was originally inspired by a novelty object produced by the Jim Beam company to sell whiskey.
It was a core component of Koons’ seminal Luxury and Degradation exhibition largely recognized to be a turning point for the artist, marking the start of his meteoric rise to international fame.
Meticulously crafted, Revolution Counter-Revolution (1990-2010) is an iconic example within Charles Ray’s oeuvre, exemplifying the deliberation and purposeful pace that has marked his work. With a platform operating on one planar axis and the horses on another, Revolution Counter-Revolution is a self-contradicting carousel, presenting a desynchronization of time. Conflating whimsy and discord, it is demonstrative of the artist’s singular ability to create subversion within systems.
Together, Ray and Koons offer a survey of sculptural practices from the 1980s and 1990s, with dual investigations into daily life in the form of polished yet provocative constructions.
The sculptures will be on offer in the 21st Century Evening Sale, a platform that has routinely showcased an array of artistic luminaries from the post-war era through the present day, becoming a powerful force in the global art world. This successful sale format was first established in the Spring of 2021 and over the past three seasons has consistently produced successful results, with engaged bidding and buying from the Americas, EMEA, and Asia.
This November marks the first time that the series of 20th and 21st-Century Evening Sales will take place consecutively on a single night, Thursday, 17 November 2022.