Sam Stabler Collected

photography Alessandro Simonetti

curation Claudia Vitarelli

23 May 2013

A curated selection of artwork by New York based artist Sam Stabler, photographed in the house of their respective collector. Each collector speaks about the work owned, how it came into their home, and on the value of living with art. 

Special thanks to Max Teicher.

“Sam and his wife were great friends of mine in college. I was visiting both them and my grandmother in London a year after we graduated when I bought this piece from him. My grandmother sweetly gave me a little spending money for my trip and I decided to invest it in one of Sam's cut-outs instead of splurging on a dinner. It was my first art purchase as an adult and I was excited to both own such a lovely piece and to be supporting a dear friend. It is still my favorite thing in our house.” UNTITLED (CUT-OUT), 2009. Collection of Laura Evans, Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

“Sam included this page from his sketchbook in the package when he mailed the cut-out piece to me. He keeps these great sketchbooks and while this one is obviously much less crafted than the cut-out, it feels almost more precious, like a page from his journal.” TWO WOMEN, 2008. Collection of Laura Evans, Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

"The first time I saw this piece was during a visit to Sam's studio, located in his home. He'd exposed his personal space to me and that was immediately evident in this work, as well; images of super heroes mixed with bucolic homes, floral patterns, and biblical undertones all arise from an elimination of the paper, yet all combine to create something in that absence. It's a message that speaks deeply to whom I am and how I interact with my personal space, in which Sam's work has now found a new home." UNTITLED (OCTOBER 3, 2011), 2011. Collection of Jonathan Zuckerbrod, NY.

UNTITLED (OCTOBER 3, 2011), 2011. Collection of Jonathan Zuckerbrod, NY.

“Yes, [I acquired them] long ago before the [first] show; this is actually the largest individual piece Sam has made.” UNTITLED (OATH OF THE HORATII), 2012. Collection of Amir Zada, SoHo, NY.

“The moment I found my loft I knew it would be the ideal space to curate a great collection. Supporting young, new New York artists just adds to the joy of owning such a space and collection.” UNTITLED (CUT-OUT), 2012. Collection of Amir Zada, SoHo, NY.

UNTITLED (CUT-OUT), 2012. Collection of Amir Zada, SoHo, NY.

“I have known Sam and his work for years. We are very close and I am lucky to have several pieces in my home. This work, “Untitled (Double Napoleon),” has a great duality as we are exposed to Napoleon victoriously climbing the Alps to Eastern Europe and then returning to France in a defeated painting. I love how Sam decided to present the defeated Napoleon on the left and the victorious Napoleon on the right because chronologically, it does not make sense. It messes with my perception, a staple to Sam's neon old master paintings.” UNTITLED (DOUBLE NAPOLEON), 2012. Collection of Max Teicher, SoHo, NY.

“I was introduced to Sam at his show on the Bowery in the Fall of 2011. At that point I had never purchased original art and had very little money to spend, but had an interest in being around those crafting the dialog for the present moment. A friend of Sam's showed me the Napoleon a few weeks later from under his bed. It is instantly recognizable, grandiose in both its original form and Sam's interpretation; I bought it on a whim. I still experience that same novel pleasure every weekend I return to the city, and just as Sam encouraged me as an upstart collector to explore the present moment, the piece is a reminder to encourage other young artists to explore their own.” UNTITLED (NAPOLEON), 2011. Private collection, Little Italy, NY.

UNTITLED (NAPOLEON), 2011. Private collection, Little Italy, NY.

“The story is that I was late rushing home to meet with Sam and discuss commissioning a work from him and I didn’t have any ideas. As I was getting out of the cab I thought about one of my favorite scenes from the move the Seven Samurai, where the poor samurai is having to chop wood to pay for his lunch, and when asked what he is doing by another Samurai he jokes, ‘I’m from the wood chopping school of Samurai.’ When they make the decision to add him to the group, the leader says something along the lines of, ‘for a difficult quest like ours, it’s just as important to have someone who is always in good spirits and funny as it is to have someone who is a great warrior.’ I talked about wanting to also get a tattoo of this scene. Sam loves Seven Samurai too and we talked about what we liked about the movie and how it was influenced by US Westerns and how in turn it influenced Western directors to rethink westerns. He ended up using our conversation as inspiration to do a much bigger piece, showing Seven Samurai alongside the US movie, Magnificent Seven, a Western, that was inspired by Seven Samurai. Which is really cool because the director, Kurosawa, was inspired by US westerns to make Seven Samurai in the first place. Since his inspiration was different from the wood chopping scene, Sam promised to do a separate work of the wood chopping samurai scene which I could get as a tattoo… which he is still in the works to do. It will be a much smaller piece.” UNTITLED (SEVEN SAMURAI), 2012. Collection of Sean Burke, Peter Cooper Village, NY.

Detail of UNTITLED (SEVEN SAMURAI), 2012. Collection of Sean Burke, Peter Cooper Village, NY.

“Buying art is an indulgence, like any other. There is the thrill of hunting, the high of capturing, and the abandon of devouring the work—really experiencing it—once it’s up there on your wall. Then there is the hangover. What makes buying art different than other indulgences is that when the hangover ends you still have the art. I bought this neon last year in the fall because Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid are outlaws and best friends. Sam picked the last scene of the movie which is a wonderful moment, seconds before these characters die. He preserves two men at their most desperate, most harrowing, and most sincere.” FILM STILL (BUTCH CASSIDY), 2012. Collection of Kyle Kouri, Lower East Side, NY.

“Given my brother's involvement with Samuel's work and career, I have been fortunate to be frequently exposed to Samuel's art. I am a novice in terms of collecting and I wanted to make a thoughtful decision before jumping in and purchasing a work. After much debate, I decided that Samuel's Cut-Out works spoke to me most and Samuel and I discussed a commission. I love the moments where you can find an object in his Cut-Outs and then lose it a minute later. It feels very much like an interpretation of "reverse pointillism" where from a distance the work is undefined and raw, but upon closer inspection the true images reveal themselves. As the sun moves throughout the day, the shadows created by the cut-out on the wall are constantly changing, which creates as sense that there are practically two different works in the morning and in the afternoon. Samuel is a gifted artist and it is truly a pleasure to be able to be a small part of his experience.” UNTITLED (CUT-OUT), 2013. Private collection, Upper West Side, NY.

UNTITLED (CUT-OUT), 2013. Private collection, Upper West Side, NY.

“I can never buy just one. I bought the cutout on the same day as the neon. If you look closely you can see there is a face in this picture, ghostly hovering beneath the chaos. Sam was inspired by a portrait of Caesar. It’s useless, however, to dwell on the Roman, because the other elements of the picture obliterate him. Blooming flowers, guitar strings, muck and squiggle swirls. There is creation here and there is destruction. Within the frame Sam caught an orgasm, and I shiver in the morning when I walk by it.” YET TO BE TITLED, 2011. Collection of Kyle Kouri, Lower East Side, NY.

YET TO BE TITLED, 2011. Collection of Kyle Kouri, Lower East Side, NY.

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