10 In-Demand Works on Artsy This Week: June 17, 2021
In this weekly series, Artsy’s Curatorial and Editorial teams offer a look at the artworks that are currently gaining traction among collectors on Artsy. Looking at our internal data, we share a selection of works that Artsy members are engaging with through inquiries, page views, and saves, plus promising lots in current auctions. The following pieces are culled from recent online auctions and art fairs hosted on Artsy, as well as exhibitions and works added by our gallery partners.
Baldur Helgason, Shakin’ All Over (2021)
A sardonic take on self-portraiture, this work by the Chicago-based Icelandic artist Baldur Helgason is receiving a significant amount of attention this week on Artsy. The animation-inspired composition is included in the artist’s current solo exhibition “Bad Timing” at Ramp Gallery in London, which saw an influx of inquiries as soon as it was added to Artsy in early June. Other works by the artist, also included in the show, have either already sold or been put on hold. Helgason was the subject of a recent Artsy Editorial market brief, which focused on the prolific artist’s rapid ascent over the past year.
Alex Katz, Vivien with Hat (2021)
German gallery Frank Fluegel’s upcoming show features a selection of works that celebrate the enduring legacy of the New York School painter Alex Katz. Opening on Katz’s 94th birthday (July 24th), the exhibition brings together old and new works by the acclaimed Pop artist that highlight his unique approach to representing simplified modern figures and objects through flat and fluid lines. One of the more recent works included in the show, Vivien with Hat, has already attracted a flurry of inquiries ahead of the exhibition’s opening.
Amani Lewis, Mr. Star City (2021)
This work by the rising painter Amani Lewis is currently on view at Black Wall Street Gallery’s exhibition “21 Piece Salute,” which closes on June 19th. Mr. Star City is emblematic of the artist’s style of layering cloth, paper, pastel, paint, and glitter to create lush works that merge digital and traditional techniques. Deeply influenced by the artist Charles White, Lewis aims to shift and challenge the dominant and often manipulative portrayals of Black people in urban communities.
Sam Friedman, Untitled (2019)
This color-soaked work by Sam Friedman was recently uploaded by the Detroit-based gallery Library Street Collective and has acquired a notable number of inquiries from collectors. The 2019 untitled canvas builds upon Friedman’s practice, which is rooted in American Abstract Expressionism and his fascination with natural phenomena like sunrises, sunsets, and rainstorms. This past April, new works by Friedman were featured in a solo show, which was the inaugural exhibition at Library Street Collective’s new flagship gallery space in Detroit; titled “Light,” the show was curated by KAWS.
Charlene Komuntale, White Dress (2021)
Ugandan-born artist Charlene Komuntale draws on her background in animation to create digital paintings that speak to the falsehoods propagated around women. Her work White Dress is included in Afriart Gallery’s presentation at African Galleries Now 2021, which also features works by Richard Atugonza, Eria Sane Nsubuga, and Eltayab Dawelbait. Part of a set of four, this bold painting is a timely commentary on the patriarchal narratives that still shape contemporary society.
William Brickel, Two Thinking (2021)
This brooding painting by British artist William Brickel is part of his first solo show with Kohn Gallery, “I’d Tell You If I Could,” which is on view in Los Angeles through July 17th. Two Thinking has seen continued interest since the exhibition opened earlier this month. Rendered with large expanses of flat colors and figures, Brickel’s compositions hint at the influence of British painters like Austin Osman Spare and Edward Burra, whose use of muted tones and line imbued their subjects with a soulful tenderness.
Grace Metzler, Trying to quit when everything seems to be smoking again (2020)
Known for her darkly humorous portrayals of contemporary life, the New York–based artist Grace Metzler dives deep into the complexities of the human psyche to imagine dystopian scenes where her polymorphic figures have freedom to do what they please. This 2020 work, available through New York gallery Yossi Milo, is currently available to buy now. The piece is part of Artsy’s timed sale “First Look,” which closes on June 21st and features artists chosen by Artsy curators as “ones to watch.”
Oluwole Omofemi, Sunday Evening (2020)
Oluwole Omofemi’s Sunday Evening is another painting featured in “First Look,” and presents an excellent opportunity to collect a stunning piece by this early-career artist. Available through the London gallery Signature African Art, the painting portrays an intimate scene of contemporary life, continuing Omofemi’s reflections on the postcolonial era by focusing on the importance of hair in Black communities.
Pablo Picasso, Femme au Fauteuil (ca. 1947)
At the “Artsy X Seoul Auction: Mixed Media” sale, this drawing on paper by Pablo Picasso has been attracting a number of bids, slowly approaching its low estimate of $180,000. Originally purchased by Marina Picasso, the artist’s granddaughter, at a 2017 Sotheby’s auction, the charcoal work is one of many graphic masterpieces from Picasso that depicts Francoise Gilot, his lover at the time of completion. The auction doesn’t close until June 24, which leaves ample time for the work’s price to continue to climb; other related pieces have fetched between $150,000 and $250,000. This past May, an oil painting of a similar subject by the artist from 1932 sold at Christie’s for $103.4 million becoming the fifth-most expensive Picasso ever sold at auction.
Dominique Fung, The World is an Apple (2021)
This dazzling, small-scale painting by Dominique Fung is featured in the collection “Artists against Anti-Asian Violence,” which is part of Artsy’s current benefit auction “Art Keeps Nonprofits Going.” Just a day into the sale, The World is an Apple already surpassed its estimate of $9,000 with a dozen bids, well ahead of the auction’s close on June 30th. The highly esteemed young artist is currently featured in a solo show at Jeffrey Deitch Gallery in New York, “It’s Not Polite to Stare,” which runs through June 26th. “Artists against Anti-Asian Violence,” curated by Fung and The Here & There Collective, features a selection of works by artists who support the Asian Pacific American community. Proceeds from the sale will benefit Heart of Dinner and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund. Fung was recently included in Artsy’s feature on 16 rising artists of the Asian diaspora in the U.S., and her work has been mentioned in recent Artsy collector profiles on Rob and Eric Thomas-Suwall, Pete Scantland, and Carla Shen.