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Sam McKinniss


  • NYC Benefit Auction 2018

  • Offsite

Bob & Charlotte, 2018
oil over acrylic on canvas
11 x 14 inches
Courtesy the artist and Team Gallery, New York
Value: $15,000 USD

Bob and Charlotte (2018) depicts the iconic moment at the end of the film Lost in Translation when Bob (played by Bill Murray) tantalizingly whispers into the ear of Charlotte (played by Scarlett Johansson.) as he embraces her. The inaudible whisper has produced much speculation on what the parting words were. (Some have claimed to have unravelled the mystery, asserting that Bob’s goodbye was “I have to be leaving but I won’t let that come between us. Okay?”

About the Artist
One of the shining stars of The Lure of the Dark with his neon-bright vision of the Aurora Borealis and ecstatic portrait of Lana Del Rey, Sam McKinniss bases his paintings on imagery he sources online, from celebrity portraits to animals and flowers. Although he faithfully renders the sometimes banal or saccharine originals without cynicism or irony, he also reveals his subjects’ hidden complexities, drawing out the romance and theatricality of their personas– along with a hint of alienation. His works often finds the intersection between show business and religion, or more broadly — a the juncture of the sacred and the profane. McKinniss’ knowledgeable engagement with art history lends his portfolio of pop-culture subjects the gravitas of a range of historical paintings that influence him, from Fragonard’s Rococo confections to Caravaggio’s moody dramas.

Sam McKinniss was born in 1985 in Northfield, Minnesota. He holds a BA from the University of Hartford and an MFA from New York University. Solo exhibitions of his work have been shown at team (gallery, inc), New York (2016); team (bungalow), Los Angeles (2015); Proof Gallery, Boston (2010); New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, CT (2008) and Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT (2008). His work has been included in group exhibitions at JTT, New York (2017); Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, CA (2017); Robert Blumenthal Gallery, East Hampton, NY (2014); and Mills Gallery, Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA (2011). McKinniss received the New Boston Fund Individual Artist Fellowship from Greater Hartford Arts Council (2009) and was a GO!, Emerging Artist Contest Winner for Real Art Ways (2008). He is represented by Team Gallery, New York. He lives and works in New York City.