Nov 16, 2023 - Sale 2653

Sale 2653 - Lot 100

Price Realized: $ 6,750
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 5,000 - $ 8,000
Untitled Pillow— June 1, 1963.

Cotton pillow with oil paint, steel roofing nails and coated foam ball mounted on wood panel, 1963. 350x540x190 mm; 13 3/4x21 1/4x7 1/2 inches. Signed and inscribed with the date in pencil, on the back panel.

Provenance: Acquired from the artist by current owners, private collection, New York.

Exhibited: "Antonakos: Pillows (1962-1963)," Byron Gallery, New York, 1964, and Meredith Long & Co., Houston, organized by the Contemporary Art Museum, Houston, April 9-23, 1971, number 49 (illustrated); "Stephen Antonakos: Pillows, 1962-1963," Lori Bookstein Fine Art, New York, February 14-March 16, 2013 (illustrated).

With—DREAM, color screenprint on linen pillowcase, 1965. 340x443 mm; 13 1/2x17 1/2 inches. Edition of approximately 100. Signed in ink, lower right. Published by Byron Gallery, New York.

By the 1960's, Antonakos (1926-2013) was known in his neighborhood as a "garbage collector" and in the introduction written by Naomi Spector for the 1971 Houston show, Antonakos recalled that "I had found some pillows in the street and a lady gave me a couple more. Another lady kept giving me boxes of buttons from where she worked— hundreds of them! They were very exciting to me. And— one day— I said to myself, 'Why couldn't I sew them on these Pillows.'" Influenced by his work in collage and assemblage, he created the Pillows during a fourteen month period, starting in September 1962. This work ran parallel to Claes Oldenberg's creation of his soft sculptures, though Antonakos was not aware of these at that time. The pillows were transformed with tears, cuts, paint, and applied found objects (sometimes stuffed with them), illustrating the artist's belief that a pillow, where one rests their head on while asleep, are keepers of secrets and dreams. The present lot is what Spector would call one of Antonakos' "aggressive" and "female" pillows, with projecting nails, though admittedly, "there is much beauty in the mass formed of the repeated, gleaming nails."