AT Phillipslatest sale in a series known as “The New Now,” which typically highlights emerging talent, dominated by household names like KAWS, Keith Haring and Sterling Ruby. But it was a list of newcomers that shone the most at the auction, which was held in New York on Tuesday.
“The New Now” has always been a way of courting competition among buyers seeking to collect works by emerging artists. Phillips specialists have expressed their willingness to meet the growing demand from collectors of works by female artists and upcoming and mid-career artists of color. These groups have long been under-represented in institutions around the world, but are now seeing a rush among collectors keen to correct the gap.
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For this sale, Phillips took a new approach to peddling works by emerging artists. The house enlisted New York art advisor Gardy St. Fleur to organize a sale as part of a sale called “The Crossover,” which included 13 new works by emerging black artists such as Robert Peterson, Rashid Johnson and Deborah Roberts. St. Fleur has caught the attention of its clientele, which includes NBA stars like Kyrie Irving and Deron Williams.
“The Crossover” grossed just over $ 311,000, all of which will go to initiatives in Haiti and New York led by Project Backboard, a Memphis-based nonprofit that rehabilitates public basketball courts and charges artists to work for these sites. While that number may represent a small portion of the $ 8.6 million that “The New Now” grossed in, “The Crossover” was notable due to the fierce competition that ran into this capsule sale it faced.
Milo Matthieu made his auction debut at Phillips, whose painting Los Siete Infantes (2021), featuring three wide-eyed characters, sold for $ 176,400, 11 times its estimate of $ 15,000. Stylist turned painter, Desane was represented by Journeyin ‘into motherhood (2020-2021), with two side-by-side views of a black woman dressed in pink. No doubt on the impetus of his recent collaboration with designer Jacquemus, the painting sold for $ 108,000, or five times the estimate of $ 18,000.
Marcus Brutus Salon (2020), a portrait of a young man lying down, sold for $ 37,800, more than three times the estimate of $ 8,000. Deborah Roberts, who is more established than artists like Brutus, Matthew and Desane, saw her Fold the red into the dark (2018), which depicts a young black girl wearing boxing gloves, sells for $ 13,900, more than double her low estimate of $ 6,000.
Of the 223 lots auctioned on Tuesday, the sale reached its high estimate, $ 6.7 million, and achieved a sale rate of 91%. The auction hit records for Jenna Gribbon, Sanford Biggers and Brutus. The result topped the total of $ 5.8 million reached in last year’s matching auction, which had an 82 percent sell rate.
The best-selling lot of this auction was that of KAWS THE BIG BELOW (2011), a circular canvas designed to resemble the eye of the protagonist of SpongeBob inspired artist, KAWSBOB. It sold for $ 529,200, against an estimate of $ 400,000. Salman Toor Girl with beggar (2013), which shows a young woman driving while an older man looks out of his car window, was the second most expensive lot. It cost $ 302,400, four times its estimate of $ 70,000. Works by Manolo Valdés, Ruby, Eddie Martinez and Haring also fetched relatively high prices. Other works for sale by Shaina McCoy, Marcellina Akpojotor and Maja Djordjević were among the lots most requested by collectors.
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