On The Square

Betsy the Cyber Cow, A Chicago Icon, Comes to Auction on Bidsquare

By Bidsquare

Feb 01,2018 | 11:20 EST

New York, NY: In an exclusive partnership with Bidsquare, 1837 Auctions presents Marcos Raya: Paintings, Collage, Objects, Installations, unveiling a profound body of work spanning over four decades by famed Chicago surrealist Marcos Raya.

The sale leads with Betsy the Cyber Cow, a one of a kind art object from the Cows on Parade public art exhibition in Chicago. This unique opportunity to own one of Chicago’s iconic Cows on Parade comes to auction for the first time in over 10 years.

Lot 1, Marcos Raya, Betsy the Cyber Cow, Painted fiberglass, 1999; Estimate $100,000 - $200,000

Cows on Parade overtook Chicago in the summer of 1999. The original concept originated from Zürich, Switzerland in 1998 by artistic director Walter Knapp. Local Chicago businessman Peter Hanig, along with Commissioner of Cultural Affairs Lois Weisberg organized the event in Chicago in 1999, bringing the concept to the United States. Why cows in Chicago? Folklore has it that Mrs. O’Leary’s cow caused the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. It destroyed a large portion of the town, but Chicago was able to rebuild and grow. Chicago was also the country’s largest meatpacking center and was acknowledged as the industry headquarters from the Civil War until the 1920s.

The immensely popular Cows on Parade display attracted about 2 million visitors to Chicago. The cows were inspiring, and after making their debut in Chicago the concept quickly spread to more than 75 cities around the world during its 15 year run.

“We’re living in a pretty surreal world at the moment and Betsy is a symbol of that in a way. This cow is more than just a piece of art but a representation of Marcos Raya’s vision and Chicago’s place as an art capital in the world.” says, Casey Walters, co-founder of 1837 Auctions.  

Lot 5, Marcos Raya, The Anguish of Being, Acyrlic on canvas with antique frame, 2018; Estimate $8,000 - $12,000

Marcos Raya is a pioneer in the Mexican American art community who has strayed away from the conventional and has produced a wild and mystifying world of his own. His works are on display at the MCA Chicago, Richard Harris Collection, The Museum of Fine Arts Houston and other important international collections. Betsy the Cow originally stood tall at the Chicago Cultural Center.

The sale will present a monumental Triptych of paintings on canvas entitled The Eternity of The Present along with never before seen objects and installations. 

Lot 3, Marcos Raya, The Eternity of the Present, Acyrlic on canvas, 2014; Estimate $45,000 - $60,000

“Raya’s creative world is that of existential unease, dystopia, satire, but also that of sexual exploration and wishful thinking," writes author Frankie Piña.

Marcos Raya brings together new and old works in a variety of media that mostly explores the sociological impact of technological change. He approaches issues such as alcoholism, war, poverty, and strangeness, nonetheless with beauty and wit. His paintings, altered objects and installations present an idiosyncratic hybrid of Mexican folklore and American pop culture. His work has more affinities with Dada and Surrealism infused with elements of Chicago style pop expressionism and Rasquachismo.

Lot 16, Marcos Raya, The Emperor of Disorder, Acyrlic on canvas, 2010; Estimate $100,000 - $120,000

Fragments of a ceremonial/circumscribing of space are evident in the works of Raya. Through an extension of his own personal space, his frontier is filled with assemblage that takes life from the residue of crisis. His installations operate as both a self portrait and collective history.

In the context of a merging reality of medical and psychological proportions, mannequins, surgical supplies, baroque representations of reliquaries, altered objects and monumental paintings are all open to his visual commentary. Rayas edge is both intimate in a domestic construction and sinister in a spectacle of public dimension.

Lot 20, Marcos Raya, The Astronaut, Acrylic on canvas, 2005; Estimate $45,000 - $60,000

This sale not only celebrates Marcos Rayas art and achievements, but offers a chance to own intimate images and objects conjured from the dreamlike world of one of the greatest American-Mexican artists of our time. Collectors will have a chance to compete at auction for legendary works from an artist who has been defying conventions for over five decades. 

“We see a lot of art with interesting stories come to auction on Bidsquare,” says Allis Ghim, Bidsquare’s CEO. “We are excited and proud to welcome 1837 Auctions and this piece of Chicago history to our site.”

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