Works to Buy this Week at Phillips: Head of Sale Tamila Kerimova on Top Lots and Collector Tastes

Artsy: Can you start by describing your curatorial vision for the sale? How do you balance representation of iconic 20th century artists and contemporary trailblazers? 

Tamila Kerimova: The sale is extremely diverse, as is the taste of collectors today as people increasingly look to collect across categories – bringing together works of different eras, genres, and medium. It is wonderful to be able to offer a work by today's superstar Adrian Ghenie alongside a work on paper by Pablo Picasso, the 20th century heavyweight. What is important for me, regardless of the time the works were produced, is to bring a selection that is relevant in the current time to the viewer.

TK (cont.): I am particularly pleased to be offering a Freischwimmer by Wolfgang Tillmans and a work on paper with collage by Robert Rauschenberg – two completely different artists whose stunning retrospectives currently share the same floor at Tate Modern. The sale presents the perfect opportunity for those who loved these shows to add a piece to their collections. 

A: This sale encompasses a wide selection of media and subject matter. Which works would you highlight for collectors interested in material-based artistic investigation? 

TK: We have a strong selection of works in which the materials used become the focal point of the artwork. Among them is the beautiful black monochrome painting by Ad Reinhardt from 1955, the gorgeous John Chamberlain sculpture executed on a small scale, the heavily impastoed painting by Andre Butzer, among others.

A: How about more conceptual works?

TK: There is a wide range of conceptual works in the sale, led by Sherrie Levine, Raymond Pettibone, Haim Steinbach, Fischli & Weiss. The latter deserves a special mention as it is rare to come across a good quality work by the duo on the market. Made out of rubber and coated with polyurethane paint to replica the objects in the studio, the work is a great example from the series they began in 1982, where we see the artists giving worthless everyday objects the status of art and alluring to the banality of life.

A: Can you walk us through some works of notable provenance or distinction within an artist's oeuvre?

TK: We are proud to present a selection of works from an important Belgian Collection, which features excellent examples by the Pictures Generation artists such as Cindy Sherman, Barbara Kruger, Sherrie Levine, Robert Longo, Louise Lawler, and Jack Goldstein. The collection sits alongside important European artists such as Gerhard Richter, Alighieri Boetti, Maurizio Cattelan, Andreas Gursky, Bernt and Hila Becher, Thomas Ruff, which creates a beautifully curated section of high quality works that make this sale very special. 

A: Finally, what are some trends you have seen within the contemporary art market this year, and how do you see them evolving as we head into the spring season?

TK: It seems that the trend of moving away from process-based work is continuing, with figurative work being the popular style at the moment. We saw strong prices achieved for good examples by George Condo in November last year, and gallery shows by Ella Kruglianskaya, Mernet Larsen, and Sanya Kantarovsky completely sell out. The much anticipated Tillmans retrospective currently on view at Tate Modern, together with his upcoming show at the Beyeler Foundation, have made the artist a market darling in the past year, which is greatly deserved. I hope this momentum will continue for him. 

Explore Phillips: 20th Century and Contemporary Art Day Sale on Artsy, and place max bids on nearly 200 artworks. Live bidding opens in London on Friday, March 10th, at 2:00pm GMT (9:00am ET). 

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