Art Market

10 Standout Auction Lots on Artsy This Week: July 8, 2021

Cornelia Smith and Beatrice Sapsford
Jul 8, 2021 6:41PM

In this series, Artsy’s Curatorial and Editorial teams offer a look at the auction lots we’re currently watching on Artsy. This selection includes hidden gems, popular works with the most bids, and promising lots from the latest auctions. Browse all of the auctions on Artsy, including lots by artists you follow, here.

Banksy, Choose Your Weapon (Cool Grey) (Signed) (2010)

Banksy originally created Choose Your Weapon on a wall in London’s Southwark District in 2010, then released the piece as a limited-edition print shortly thereafter. It was Banksy’s last street art print publicly sold by the artist himself. In the image, the dog—modeled after Keith Haring’s “Barking Dog”—is leashed by a man in a hoodie, which serves to represent the power of public art in addressing societal ills. Choose Your Weapon (Cool Grey) (Signed) is a rare work available in the “Only Banksy” auction by Forum, with a starting bid of £110,000.

Browse available works by Banksy.

Tomokazu Matsuyama, Kirin (2004)


In Japanese mythology, kirin—chimeric animals adorned with scales, hooves, and a single horn—symbolize virtue, and are thought to signal the arrival of a great ruler. They are often depicted consumed by flames. This painted rendition of a kirin by Tomokazu Matsuyama, available in the “Artsy x Tate Ward: Street & Pop Art Now” auction with a current bid of $17,000, is abstract and bursting with color. The work represents Matsuyama’s exploration into his binational upbringing: He blends traditional imagery from Japan’s Edo period with contemporary techniques and iconography associated with American consumerism.

Browse available works by Tomokazu Matsuyama.

Todd James, I’ll Be Here (2014)

Beginning his career as a young graffiti artist in New York City subway stations, Todd James has since developed a refined practice that has garnered international acclaim. His paintings, which still maintain his street art aesthetic, are vibrant, saturated, and reminiscent of Matisse’s flat, colorblocked shapes. I’ll Be Here is in the “Artsy x Tate Ward: Street & Pop Art Now” auction with a current bid of $16,000.

Browse available works by Todd James.

Keith Haring, Untitled 2 (from Free South Africa) (1985)

This lithograph, part of a limited-edition set, belongs to Keith Haring’s “Free South Africa” series, created during the mid-1980s in support of the anti-apartheid movement. While Haring disseminated close to 20,000 posters from this series around New York City in 1986, his lithographs are few and far between, making Untitled 2 (from Free South Africa) a particularly exciting piece. The work is now available in the “Artsy x Tate Ward: Street & Pop Art Now” auction with a starting bid of $24,000.

Browse available works by Keith Haring.

Corita Kent, moments series (13 works) (1977)

Corita Kent was a prolific Pop artist who transitioned from being a nun into a full-time artist and activist in the late 1960s. The title page of this series of prints reads: “A suite of eleven prints that together form a stillness at the center present with all it contains which is a flowering out beyond what we know.” The complete set, available in the “Wright: Art + Design” auction from $7,000, includes vibrant, floral prints accompanied by poignant quotes from the artist herself.

Browse available works by Corita Kent.

Peter Shire, Teapot (1980)

Postmodern ceramic artist and designer Peter Shire creates playful yet functional works of art that have remained popular for decades. A founding member of the Memphis Group, Shire fuses geometric shapes to construct pieces of furniture, sculptures, paintings, and more. This teapot—part of the “Wright: Art + Design” auction—is one of his simpler designs in which he opts for a sleek, monochromatic look. Bids for Teapot begin at $1,500.

Browse available works by Peter Shire.

David LaChapelle, Anna Kournikova: The Court’s Free (1998)

Former professional tennis player and model Anna Kournikova takes center stage in this photograph by acclaimed photographer and video artist David LaChapelle. Saturated and provocative, the image expresses LaChapelle’s ’90s-era penchant for capturing the camp and glitz of pop culture trendsetters. Anna Kournikova: The Court’s Free is available in the “Wright: Art + Design” auction beginning at $12,000.

Browse available works by David LaChapelle.

Julie Mehretu, Bare (2021)

After her record-breaking $6.5 million sale of Dissident Score (2019–21) on Artsy in June—all of the proceeds of which went directly to the Art for Justice Fund—Julie Mehretu continues to astound audiences with her energetic, meticulously crafted paintings and prints. The Ethiopian American artist is a tour de force in the art world: In addition to a mid-career survey currently on view at the Whitney Museum, Mehretu also has a solo exhibition of her prints at the gallery Gemini G.E.L. at Joni Moisant Weyl. Bare, a recent Mehretu print, is now available in the sale “Artsy x Capsule Auctions: Post-War & Contemporary Art under $20,000” with a starting bid of $5,000.

Browse available works by Julie Mehretu.

Derrick Adams, Woman in Optimum Blue (2017)

Brooklyn-based artist Derrick Adams makes work that celebrates Black culture and emphasizes Black leisure. Using deconstructivist philosophies to guide his multidisciplinary practice, Adams explores the myriad ways in which external influences such as pop culture shape one’s identity. His use of contrasting textures, colors, and overlapping patterns reflects the unique associations that individuals establish with material objects. Woman in Optimum Blue is featured in LongHouse Reserve’s 2021 benefit auction with a starting bid of $3,500. The limited edition is a shining example of Adams’s dynamic approach to artmaking.

Browse available works by Derrick Adams.

Bridget Riley, Untitled (Fragment 2) (Schubert 5b) (1965)

Currently the subject of the solo exhibition “Past into Present” at David Zwirner in London, Bridget Riley visualizes movement through abstract renderings of nature. The pioneering Op art painter engages viewers through clever and precise manipulation of line. Her six-decade career encompasses a range of styles all rooted in geometry and illusion. This print, from early in her career when she worked exclusively in black and white, is available in “Forum Auctions: Prints and Editions 1500–2021” from £11,000.

Browse available works by Bridget Riley.

Cornelia Smith
Beatrice Sapsford