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Aspen Art Museum


Nairy Baghramian

Coude à Coude
Cast aluminum, wax.
85 ½ x 63 ¾ x 3 ½ in (216 x 162 x 9 cm)
Kindly donated by the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery.
Estimate: $200,000–$300,000

About this Work

Nairy Baghramian’s Coude à Coude (2019) leans against the wall. An aluminum structure, not shiny and new, but handled, worked, encases two large slabs of wax. Wax, commonly used in the casting process, has not vanished here as usual, but the two forms—one brown, one gray—sit “side by side” as the title suggests, proudly dominating the piece.

Through her abstract sculptures, Baghramian alludes both directly and indirectly to human forms. Coude à Coude relates to the series “Maintainers” (one of which is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York)—multipart works, that lean upon each other for support, relying on clamps and braces to maintain their balance. There is an anthropomorphic strain running throughout Baghramian’s work, suggestions of prosthetics and the tools of dentistry. The titles support these connections: Retainer (2012), Scruff of the Neck (2016), Knee and Elbow (2020) or the 2021 exhibition “Misfits.”

Baghramian tackles binaries head on: private/public; interior exterior; industrial/organic; process/production; feminine/masculine; darkness/humor; soft/hard; and so on. The materials she uses such as the wax and aluminum of this work from 2019, have a symbiotic relationship within the production process. A codependance that begins in production, develops into the opposing forces at play in the work, and culminates in the way in which they interact with their surroundings and their audience. Baghramian’s sculptures throw down a challenge to their settings, and disrupt our expectations. Turning to the artist for the last word, in a talk given in 2012 at the Vera List Center in New York, Baghramian argued that “In its encounter with the beholder, the work of art exercises an indirect influence on cultural habits, drawing our attention by contradicting or rejecting them, and thus providing a frame for the transformative power of aesthetics and politics.”

Nairy Baghramian is currently showing a major exhibition of her work at the Aspen Art Museum, and is this year’s Aspen Art Museum Artist Honoree.

About the Artist

Nairy Baghramian (b. 1971 Tehran, lives and works in Berlin). Baghramian’s work comprises sculpture and installation often in reference to architecture and the human body. Her work addresses temporal, spatial and social relationships to language, history, and the present, with forms which materialize in response to contextual conditions or the premises of a given medium. These structures offer the possibility of an open and discursive dialogue in response to a site, or a freeing of the assigned relationship between an object and its meaning.

Upcoming projects include the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s facade commission in fall 2023. Shs is currently the subject of a major exhibition at the Aspen Art Museum. Recent solo shows include those at the Secession in Vienna, 2022, Galleria d'Arte Moderna (GAM), Milan, Italy (2021); MUDAM Luxembourg, Luxembourg (2019); Palacio de Cristal, Madrid, Spain (2018); the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2017); Statens Museum for Kunst, National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen (2017); Museum of Contemporary Art, Ghent, Belgium (2016); Museum Haus Konstruktiv, Zürich, Switzerland (2016); Museo Tamayo, Mexico City, Mexico (2015); Serralves Museum, Porto, Portugal (2014); MIT Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts (2013); Kunsthalle Mannheim, Germany (2012); The Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada (2012) and Serpentine Gallery, London, UK (2010).

Baghramian is the 2023 recipient of the Aspen Art Museum’s Award for Art which will be presented to her at the ArtCrush gala on August 4th. She was also the 2022 Nasher Prize Laureate. Her previous awards include the Zurich Art Prize (2016); the Arnold-Bode Prize, Kassel (2014); the Hector Prize, Kunsthalle Mannheim (2012); and the Ernst Schering Foundation Award (2007). She has participated in the Yorkshire Sculpture International at The Hepworth Wakefield, UK (2019); Venice Biennale, Italy (2019 and 2011); Skulptur Projekt Munster, Germany (2017 and 2007); the 8th and 5th Berlin Biennale, Germany (2014 and 2008); and Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art, Scotland (2012).

How to Bid:

Bidding on this work takes place at the ArtCrush gala on Friday, August 4th, at 8pm MT. Absentee and telephone bidding available - please contact for more information, including a condition report.

There is no Buyer’s Premium and the difference between the mid-estimate and the winning bid is a tax deductible donation to the museum.