The work of Sarah Morris (born 1967 in London, UK) is concerned with decoding the built environment. Focusing on the urban experience, her work explores techniques of communication - the relationship between signs and symbols and their referents in the physical world. The 1997-99 Midtown series focused on the architecture of Manhattan skyscrapers as signifiers of urban life and corporate power. Architectural qualities became… Read more
About the artwork
At first glance, Paine Webber with Neons is wholly abstract; a colorful gridded network of lines reminiscent of a Piet Mondrian. However, this zoomed-in architectural detail is characteristic of Morris' work and depicts the façade of former American stock brokerage and asset management firm Paine Webber. The work relates to Morris' interest in cityscapes and is part of her series titled Midtown, comprised of similar grid-like paintings featuring Manhattan's architecture. Interested in capitalist ideology, Morris explores the way in which these skyscrapers convey messages about wealth and the distribution of power.