Art Market

Works by Salman Toor, Banksy, and Eddie Martinez led Phillips’s “New Now” sale.

Justin Kamp
Dec 16, 2020 10:52PM, via Phillips

Salman Toor, Liberty Porcelain (2012). Courtesy Phillips.

Phillips’s “New Now” sale closed in London yesterday, achieving £3.8 million ($5 million) in total sales, the highest ever achieved by the category in London. The auction saw 172 out of 215 lots find buyers for a sell-through rate of 80 percent by lot.

Works by Salman Toor, Banksy, and Eddie Martinez led the auction. Toor’s 2012 canvas was the top lot of the evening, soaring past its high estimate of £60,000 ($80,100) to sell for £378,000 ($504,000), nabbing the third highest auction result for a work by the artist, who made his debut on the secondary market in October of this year. An edition of Banksy’s iconic Girl With Balloon (2004) followed, selling for £189,000 ($252,300) above a high estimate of £150,000 ($200,200). Eddie Martinez’s Skullscape 3 (large) (2012) rounded out the top three results, achieving £163,800 ($218,600) above a high estimate of £120,000 ($160,200).

The sale also saw new auction records set for works by The Connor Brothers, Neil Stokoe, and Michael Sailstorfer, among others. The Connor Brothers’s Two works: (i) The Truth Is Like Poetry; (ii) Study for The truth is Like Poetry (2018) sold for £40,300 ($53,800), beating out their previous record of HK$350,000 ($44,600) set in 2019. The British duo, who had the eighth-highest number of bidders at auctions on Artsy in 2020, have been the subject of an explosion in interest on the platform over the past three years, according to Artsy data. Between 2018 and 2020, the number of artworks by the duo published on the platform increased by nearly 158 percent. Over the same period, the number of inquirers on their work increased by 282 percent.

Simon Tovey, Head of New Now, said in a statement:

What a way to end the season, with the highest total for a New Now sale in London. In true New Now style last night six artists made their debut onto the secondary market and seven auction records were achieved, all of which were supported by a great depth of bidding from over 600 participants from across 47 countries. It was an honour to offer and sell 100% of the works donated by renowned contemporary artists to benefit The Yinka Shonibare Foundation and we are delighted to see £252,720 raised for that fantastic cause. Despite the various headwinds, this season has been a triumph and we look forward to continuing this momentum into 2021.
Justin Kamp
Art Market

An Ansel Adams photograph achieved a new auction record for the artist at Sotheby’s.

Justin Kamp
Dec 15, 2020 10:12PM, via Sotheby’s

Ansel Adams, The Grand Tetons and the Snake River, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming (1942). Courtesy Sotheby’s.

A photograph by Ansel Adams achieved a new auction record for the artist at a dedicated Sotheby’s sale yesterday. A large-scale print of Adams’s The Grand Tetons and the Snake River, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming (1942) sold for $988,000, beating the photographer’s previous record of $722,500, achieved at a Sotheby’s New York sale in 2010.

The Grand Tetons and the Snake River sold as part of Sotheby’s dedicated sale “A Grand Vision: The David H. Arrington Collection of Ansel Adams Masterworks.” The auction saw 123 lots go under the hammer, achieving $6.4 million in total sales with a sell-through rate of 94 percent by lot. Nearly half of the offered works achieved prices above their estimates, helping push the auction to the highest total for a Sotheby’s photograph sale since 2014.

Emily Bierman, head of Sotheby’s Photographs Department in New York, said in a statement:

The spectacular results from yesterday’s sale not only affirmed Ansel Adams as one of the most important artists of the 20th century, but also that his subject matter is as relevant today as when it was created over half a century ago [...] The collection put together by David H. Arrington was unprecedented in its scale, scope, and condition, and now proudly takes its place among the most significant collections of photographs to ever come to auction. Handling this collection has been an enormous privilege for our entire team, and, personally, an opportunity I will cherish in my career.

According to Artsy data, Adams has been among the 30 most in-demand photographers on the platform since 2018.

Further Reading: The Story Behind the Photograph That Made Ansel Adams Famous

Justin Kamp
Art Market

A collector donated works by McArthur Binion, Amy Sherald, and others to a historically Black college.

Justin Kamp
Dec 14, 2020 10:34PM, via CNN

McArthur Binion, DNA:Study (2019). Courtesy Lehmann Maupin.

New York business executive and Morehouse College alum George Wells has pledged to donate roughly $1 million worth of works from his collection to his alma mater. The historically Black Atlanta college will receive a selection that includes works by Amy Sherald, Rashid Johnson, Mickalene Thomas, Ivy Haldeman, and McArthur Binion, among others. The works will be displayed around the college’s campus in 2021 and will form Morehouse’s first permanent art collection.

Wells said in a statement:

I will always be grateful for my Morehouse education and the springboard it created for my career on Wall Street and in business, and I want to recognize that with this gift. Owning multiple works by Johnson and Thomas is like owning a piece of history to me. Their practices both showcase black resiliency and triumph but in different ways and from different gender perspectives. It is my hope that this gift will serve as an impetus for furthering racial equality within the art world during this exceptionally vulnerable time for Americans and race relations.

According to Artsy data, both Sherald and Johnson have been the subject of increased interest on the platform in recent years. Sherald, whose work was first published on Artsy in 2018, saw her highest level of demand the following year. Works by Johnson, meanwhile, have seen a steady rise in inquiries since 2014 with 2020 receiving the most dramatic increase thus far—inquiries more than doubled between this year and last.

Justin Kamp

A new Banksy mural appeared on a building in Bristol, England.

Justin Kamp
Dec 11, 2020 8:29PM, via ARTnews

Banksy’s newest mural in Bristol, England. Photo by Geoff Caddick / AFP via Getty Images.

A new pandemic-themed Banksy work has appeared on the side of a house in Bristol, England. The mural, which features an elderly woman in the midst of a sneeze so forceful that her dentures have flown out, was claimed by the artist in an Instagram post on Thursday with the caption “Aachoo!!”

The mural caps off a busy year for the famed street artist. In May, he unveiled a painting in honor of frontline healthcare workers at the Southampton General Hospital in the U.K. The painting hung in the hospital’s lobby until the fall, when it was auctioned off to raise money for the country’s National Health Service (NHS). In August, the artist revealed he had chartered and staffed a rescue boat, the Louise Michel, to patrol the Mediterranean in order to help North African refugees complete their journey to Europe.

The market for Banksy’s work, meanwhile, continued to expand. At a Sotheby’s auction in July, the artist’s 2017 triptych Mediterranean sea view 2017 sold for £2.2 million ($2.8 million), nabbing the second-highest result for a Banksy work at auction. That result was soon beaten by the sale of the artist’s Claude Monet riff Show Me the Monet (2005), which sold at Sotheby’s in October for £7.5 million ($9.7 million) and now holds the second-highest title. Banksy was also the second-most inquired-on artist on Artsy, coming only behind fellow street art extraordinaire KAWS.

Further Reading: Banksy’s Rapidly Rising Market, Explained

Justin Kamp
Art Market

Kudzanai-Violet Hwami has joined Victoria Miro’s artist roster.

Justin Kamp
Dec 10, 2020 9:55PM, via Victoria Miro

Portrait of Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, 2019. Photo by Jo Metson Scott, courtesy Victoria Miro.

Kudzanai-Violet Hwami has joined Victoria Miro’s artist roster. The Zimbabwe-born, U.K.-based painter will be included in an online exhibition presented by the gallery as part of the Reprieve Collective, launching today on the Vortic Collect app. Her first in-person exhibition with the gallery will take place in summer 2021.

Hwami, who grew up in South Africa, is best known for her intimate figurative portraiture, which often focuses on the minutiae of South African life. Her richly-rendered subjects are contrasted with vivid gestural backgrounds, which often combine abstract color fields, pared-down patterning, and a variety of other media such as digital collage, silkscreen, pastels and charcoal.

Hwami described her process in a statement:

With the collapsing of geography and time and space, no longer am I confined in a singular society but simultaneously I am experiencing Zimbabwe and South Africa and the U.K., in my mind. I’m in the U.K., but I carry those places with me everywhere I go.

Hwami’s profile has risen dramatically in recent years. In 2019, she was included in the 58th Venice Biennale, where she presented at Zimbabwe’s pavilion. 2019 also saw her debut solo institutional exhibition at Gasworks in London. Earlier this year, she was included in Victoria Miro’s online group show “I See You,” which centered on depictions of male subjects by female painters. According to Artsy data, Hwami’s recent achievements have been reflected in growing interest in her work on the platform. Between 2017 and 2020, the average number of inquiries made on each work of hers on the platform increased by a factor of more than eight.

Justin Kamp
Art Market

A $4 million work by Barkley L. Hendricks set a new auction record for the artist at Sotheby’s.

Justin Kamp
Dec 9, 2020 10:23PM, via Sotheby’s

Barkley L. Hendricks, Mr. Johnson (Sammy From Miami) (1972). Courtesy Sotheby’s.

Sotheby’s New York cross-category evening sale closed yesterday, bringing in a total of $63.3 million in sales with a sell-through rate of 92 percent by lot. The auction was the last marquee evening sale of the year for Sotheby’s, and pushed the auction house’s global public and private sales of impressionist, modern, and contemporary art to over $2.75 billion in total for the year.

The sale was led by Alexander Calder’s hanging sculpture Mariposa (1951), which more than doubled its high estimate of $8 million to sell for $18.1 million. The sale marked the first time the work has come to auction since it was acquired by the esteemed Neiman Marcus Collection in 1951. Pablo Picasso’s late career portrait Buste de Femme Assise (1962) followed, selling for $11.1 million. Claude Monet’s Vernon, Soleil (1894), on offer as part of the Brooklyn Museum’s recent deaccessioning sales, sold for $4.7 million.

The sale also marked the continuation of Barkley L. Hendricks’s secondary-market ascendance, with the late artist’s 1972 portrait Mr. Johnson (Sammy From Miami) selling for a record $4 million, beating out his previous record of $3.7 million, set at Sotheby’s in May 2019. According to Artsy data, demand for works by Hendricks has steadily increased in tandem with the number of artworks made available by the artist on the platform, culminating in a quadrupling of inquiries between 2017 and 2019.

Further Reading: How Barkley Hendricks Became the Portraitist of “Black Cool”

Justin Kamp
Art Market

Phillips’s 20th century and contemporary auction achieved a record $134.5 million.

Justin Kamp
Dec 8, 2020 10:31PM, via Phillips

Amy Sherald, The Bathers (2015). Courtesy Phillips.

Phillips’s 20th century and contemporary sale closed in New York yesterday with a final total of $134.5 million, a nearly 25 percent increase from the firm’s same sale last fall and the highest sales ever achieved at the auction house’s New York location. The auction saw 31 out of 35 lots find buyers for a sell-through rate of 89 percent by lot.

Jean-Paul Engelen and Robert Manley, Phillips’s worldwide co-heads of 20th century and contemporary art, said in a statement:

We are thrilled to be ending an unprecedented year so strongly; nine months after the initial shut down that threw the live auction world into uncertainty we have just had one of the strongest sales in Phillips’ history. This success is testimony to the strength of our team and the deep relationships we have with our collectors, forged over decades of expertly bringing the best works to market with the creativity and dynamism for which Phillips is known. The sale was one of our most diverse and we were pleased to see five artists of color achieve worldwide auction records this evening.

Among the artists whose work achieved new auction records were Amy Sherald, Kehinde Wiley, Vaughn Spann, Jadé Fadojutimi, and Mickalene Thomas. Sherald’s pastel-hued 2015 canvas The Bathers shattered the artist’s previous record of $350,000 when it sold for $4.2 million, beating its high estimate of $200,000 by a factor of more than 20. Wiley’s 2017 portrait of fellow artist and auction record-breaker Mickalene Thomas, meanwhile, sold for $378,000, surpassing the artist’s previous record of $350,000, set at Sotheby’s this past June.

A work by Thomas herself was also the subject of a new auction record. The mixed media collage I’ve Been Good To Me (2013) tripled its high estimate of $300,000 to sell for $901,000, superseding her previous record of $567,000, set in 2019. According to Artsy data, works by Thomas on the platform have seen a steady rise in interest over the past five years, even as the supply of available works has slowed. The average number of inquiries per available work by Thomas on Artsy is on track to nearly double between 2015 and 2020.

Further Reading: Obama Portraitist Amy Sherald Gives Advice to Young Artists

Further Reading: Vaughn Spann’s New Paintings Remind Us to Make Time for Healing

Further Reading: Mickalene Thomas Opens a Seductive, Spectacular Show in Miami

Justin Kamp

The painter Jackie Saccoccio has died at 56.

Justin Kamp
Dec 7, 2020 9:42PM, via ARTnews

Jackie Saccoccio in her Connecticut studio, November 2019. Photo by Charles Benton courtesy Van Doren Waxter, NY.

Jackie Saccoccio died on Friday, December 4th at age 56. The artist, who was best known for her abstract painting practice, had been battling cancer for five years, according to her New York gallery, Van Doren Waxter.

The gallery said in a statement:

We at Van Doren Waxter are deeply saddened by the death of Jackie Saccoccio, who was widely praised and admired for her powerful canvases, and also deeply respected as a true painter’s painter. We have lost a tremendously talented and beautiful friend, and our condolences go out to her loving husband and daughter.

Saccoccio was born in 1963 in Providence, Rhode Island. After receiving a Bachelor’s in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1985, followed by a Master’s from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago three years later, her art career began in earnest. Starting in the 1990’s, she received acclaim for her vivid gestural abstraction, reminiscent of Abstract Expressionists such as Helen Frankenthaler and Joan Mitchell. She produced her large-scale canvases with a formal inventiveness that included techniques such as dry-brush scumbling, applying iridescent mica paint, pressing canvases together, and turning canvases while the paint was still wet. The resulting works were highly-layered, vibrant mixtures of geometric patterning, free-flowing drip networks, and large chromatically-shifting fields of color.

Saccoccio drew on a wide range of artistic forebears in her work, referencing not just abstract titans like Piet Mondrian but also the color palettes of artists such as Lisa Yuskavage. She also drew heavily from other creative fields for inspiration, naming her paintings after plays like Shakespeare’s The Tempest or movies like Wong Kar-Wai’s Chungking Express. Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Nerman Museum of Contemporary art in Kansas, and MOCA Jacksonville. Her work is in the collections of institutions including the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Saatchi Gallery in London.

“In a static object, like a painting, I am trying to communicate this idea of impermanence,” Saccoccio said in an interview with Elle. “I use varnishes, mica, and other mediums that will look completely different when you walk to the right of the paintings, as opposed to standing in front of a painting. In a way, it's an effect to make a static object seem like it's moving.”

Justin Kamp
Art Market

Works by Javier Calleja, Matthew Wong, and Genieve Figgis broke records at auctions in Hong Kong.

Justin Kamp
Dec 4, 2020 8:57PM, via Phillips

Genieve Figgis, Wedding Party (2019). Courtesy Phillips.

Phillips and Poly Auction’s joint 20th century and contemporary sales closed in Hong Kong yesterday, realizing HK$508.4 million ($65.5 million). The sales, which were live-streamed from Hong Kong, saw 166 out of 177 total lots sell for a combined sell-through rate of 94 percent by lot.

Jonathan Crockett, the chairman of Phillips Asia, said in a statement:

In a break from tradition, this season’s sales were unlike any before and marked the very first time that two leading auction houses have collaborated in such a way in Hong Kong. I am immensely pleased with the combined sale total of HK$508 million/ US$66 million, exceeding the pre-sale estimate of HK$309-450 million. Despite the current climate, I am delighted that we have achieved these exceptional results, marking the highest total for a Hong Kong Evening and Day Sale respectively in company history. Yoshitomo Nara’s Hothouse Doll sold for a remarkable HK$103 million / US$13 million, setting the second highest price ever for the artist at auction as well as the most expensive artwork ever sold at Phillips Hong Kong.

12 new auction records were set across the day and evening sales, among them Artsy Vanguard artist, Salman Toor, whose record stood for less than 12 hours before being broken again at Christie’s New York. Javier Calleja’s 2019 portrait No More Stories sold for HK$4 million ($520,100), beating the artist’s previous record of HK$ 3,725,000 ($480,600), set at Christie’s in July of this year. Matthew Wong’s posthumous secondary market, meanwhile, continues to balloon, with his bright-hued 2018 canvas River at Dusk selling for HK$37.7 million (US$4.8 million), surpassing the artist’s previous record of $4.4 million, set at Christie’s New York in October.

Genieve Figgis’s surrealistic 2019 canvas Wedding Party sold for HK$4.4 million (US$568,800), nearly doubling her previous auction record of HK$2.3 million (US$303,400). According to Artsy data, inquiries on works by Figgis on the platform have seen a general uptick in interest over the past five years. Following a peak in 2016, inquiries once again began to climb in 2019, more than doubling 2018’s numbers. Inquiries in 2020 are on pace to once again double the previous year’s numbers.

Further Reading: Salman Toor’s Intimate Paintings Are a Salve for Our Isolated Times

Justin Kamp
Art Market

Amoako Boafo, Dana Schutz, and Nicolas Party achieved new auction records at a Christie’s hybrid sale.

Justin Kamp
Dec 3, 2020 7:53PM, via Christie’s

Amoako Boafo, Baba Diop (2019). Courtesy Christie’s.

Christie’s hybrid “20th Century: Hong Kong to New York” sale closed yesterday, achieving $119.2 million in total sales, with a sell-through rate of 90 percent by lot. The sale, which occurred across the auction house’s locations in both cities, saw participation from buyers around the world, with roughly 30 percent of buyers hailing from the Americas and more than half of buyers hailing from the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region.

The sale saw a number of new auction records for artists including Amoako Boafo, Dana Schutz, Nicolas Party, Joyce Pensato, and Shara Hughes. Boafo, whose painting The Lemon Bathing Suit (2019) made waves earlier this year when it sold at Phillips for £675,000 ($880,971), broke the $1 million mark with his 2019 canvas Baba Diop, which sold for HK$8.8 million (US$1.1 million), beating its low estimate by roughly a factor of ten. Meanwhile, Party’s pastel Still Life (2014) sold for HK$ 10.4 million (US$1.3 million), beating his previous record of $1.1 million, set last year at Christie’s Hong Kong.

Finally, Schutz nearly tripled her previous auction record when her large-scale 2017 canvas sold for HK$50 million (US$6.4 million) after a 10 minute bidding war. According to Artsy data, interest in works by Schutz on the platform have steadily increased over the past five years, with inquiries nearly doubling between 2016 and 2017, the year Schutz was included in the Whitney Biennial. Following a dip in 2018, inquiries on her work again doubled in 2019, when she was included in a number of institutional group shows and had a comeback solo show at New York's Petzel Gallery.

Alex Rotter, Christie’s chairman of 20th and 21st Century art, said in a statement:

Today’s relay sale results show we read the market and its current appetites well, leveraging the strengths of both our Hong Kong and New York sales hubs by focusing on exciting contemporary material and rarities of Impressionist and Modern art. It was a formula well-suited to this December season, when the primary market focus traditionally shifts to this sector of the market. Given the tremendous depth of bidding and numerous auction records achieved, it was a sale strategy that proved ideal for this moment, and illustrates our commitment to innovation and experimentation in this continually-evolving market environment.
Justin Kamp
Art Market

Marcus Jansen has joined Almine Rech’s artist roster.

Justin Kamp
Dec 2, 2020 9:42PM, via Almine Rech

Portrait of artist, Marcus Jansen with his work. Photo by Sabrina Gruber.

New York–based artist Marcus Jansen is now represented by Almine Rech in Europe, the United Kingdom, and Asia. He will continue to be represented by Richard Beavers Gallery in the United States, which has represented the artist since 2007. Jansen’s first solo exhibition with Almine Rech will take place at the gallery’s Paris space in January 2021.

Jansen is perhaps best known for his apocalyptic depictions of urban landscapes that incorporate both figuration and gestural abstraction, influenced both by New York graffiti art and his deployment in Operation Desert Storm as a soldier in the U.S. Army. He has also received acclaim for his “Faceless” series, which centers on portraits of sitters with their heads obscured by abstracted shapes. Jansen has exhibited at ​The Baker Museum in Florida, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas, the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, and the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art (MoCADA) in New York, among others. His work has been collected by institutions including the Moscow Museum of Modern Art (MMOMA), The University of Michigan Museum of Art, and The New Britain Museum of American Art.

According to Artsy data, interest in works by Jansen on the platform has steadily risen over the past five years. After a fourfold increase in inquiries on his work between 2016 and 2017, interest has continued to climb, with 2020 seeing the highest amount of inquiries thus far.

Justin Kamp

Chase Hall and Dominic Chambers were included in Forbes’s “30 Under 30: Art & Style” list.

Justin Kamp
Dec 1, 2020 9:33PM, via Forbes

Correction: An earlier version of this article was based on last year’s version of the Forbes “30 Under 30” list. The article has been updated to reflect the most recent version of the list; we apologize for any confusion the earlier version may have caused.

Forbes has released its annual “30 Under 30” list of influential cultural figures, featuring a number of contemporary artists including Chase Hall, Dominic Chambers, Kahlil Robert Irving, Elliott Jerome Brown Jr., Faith Couch, Yohannes Yamassee, Mamadi Doumbouya, and María Fragoso, among others. This year’s honorees were chosen by a panel of judges made up of Tory Burch, Ashley Longshore, Ashley Graham, and Kehinde Wiley.

Honorees were chosen for achieving significant career milestones this year. Irving, a member of 2020’s edition of The Artsy Vanguard, presented work in the Whitney Museum’s “Making Knowing: Craft in Art, 1950–2019;” opened a solo show at Jenkins Johnson Gallery; and was one of three artists chosen to participate in the Great Rivers Biennial at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. Chambers, meanwhile, participated in a number of exhibitions, including group shows at Roberts Projects and Jenkins Johnson, as well as solo shows at Turin’s Luce Gallery and the August Wilson African American Cultural Center in Pittsburgh. According to Artsy data, the number of total inquiries on Chambers’s works on Artsy increased more than fivefold from 2019 to 2020.

Hall started out the year with a solo show, “Troubled Waters,” in Los Angeles, and his works, especially Black Birderers Association (2020) and Running from Yesterday’s Acquittal (2019), gained significant attention during the Black Lives Matter protests over the summer. Hall followed “Troubled Waters” with group shows at New York’s Clearing Gallery and Various Small Fires in Seoul, as well as a two-artist show at Monique Meloche in Chicago. He also participated in the Public Art Fund’s “Art on the Grid” campaign, where his work was featured on bus shelters across New York City.

Further Reading: Dominic Chambers’s Magical Realist Paintings Capture the Sanctity of Black Leisure

Justin Kamp
Art Market

Robert Nava has joined Pace’s artist roster.

Justin Kamp
Nov 30, 2020 9:38PM, via Pace Gallery

New York–based artist Robert Nava has joined Pace Gallery’s artist roster. Nava’s first presentation with the gallery will take place at Art Basel Miami Beach, which opens virtually tomorrow, December 1st. His first solo exhibition will take place shortly after the fair, opening in January 2021 at the gallery’s new Palm Beach space. Nava will continue to be represented by Vito Schnabel Gallery in Switzerland, Night Gallery in Los Angeles, and Sorry We’re Closed in Brussels.

Nava is best known for his raw figurative style, which combines spray paint, acrylics, and grease pencil into depictions of mythical creatures that lie somewhere between hieroglyph and notebook sketch. Nava has said that he identifies with painters that are considered “bad” by academic standards, placing himself in the lineage of the French painter and Art brut pioneer Jean Dubuffet.

Marc Glimcher, president and CEO of Pace, said in a statement:

Robert Nava’s work reveals a new contemporary mythology. His chimeric beasts, part children’s fantasy, part expressionistic composition, exploit the intersection of playful and threatening. Refined through obsessive drawing, Nava’s creatures come to life on canvas through his deftly naive applications of spray paint and oil markers. We are so excited that Robert is joining Pace, and we are looking forward to supporting his evolutionary process as an artist at the forefront of his generation.

Nava was recently identified as one of eight artists with breakout auction moments this past fall, with bids consistently skyrocketing past high estimates. According to Artsy data, interest in Nava’s work has grown significantly in recent years; 2019 saw astronomical growth in inquiries on his work, which is partly explained by a more than threefold increase in the number of his works uploaded to the platform that year compared to 2018, as well as broader market trends. This year, while the number of Nava works uploaded to Artsy has dropped by more than half, the number of inquiries has continued to grow and is up 67% year over year.

Justin Kamp

LACMA unveiled a new Alex Prager sculptural installation depicting a raucous office holiday party.

Justin Kamp
Nov 25, 2020 10:10PM, via The Los Angeles Times

Installation view of Alex Prager: Farewell, Work Holiday Parties at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, November 21, 2020–January 3, 2021. Photo © Museum Associates/LACMA, photos by Joshua White/

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is unveiling a new sculptural installation just in time for this year’s isolated holiday season. Alex Prager’s Farewell, Work Holiday Parties (2020), which is installed on the museum’s entrance plaza near Chris Burden’s Urban Light (2008), features 15 hyperrealistic figures in the throes of an office party, complete with drunken dancing, awkward photo-ops, and photocopier hijinks.

Prager worked with Hollywood-based effects company, Vincent Van Dyke Effects, to construct the eerily lifelike figures. Her process began by directing real actors to pose over Zoom while she scanned and printed their bodies at a 3-D printing facility. She then detailed the sculptures with paint, clay, and hair. She rounded out the installation with input from costume and production designers to ensure that the installation felt lived-in and properly chaotic, with minute details such as a text message break-up and lipstick-stained teeth making the work feel uncannily true-to-life.

Prager told the L.A. Times:

This is a very difficult time and there hasn’t been much humor in the world in the last nine months; it’s been a lot of hatred and a lot of polarization. Humor is a way to shine light on something that’s not necessarily an easy thing to experience—we can’t have these parties right now, we can’t have any parties—and this allows us to laugh at ourselves.

According to Artsy data, interest in works by Prager on the platform has seen a general increase since 2016, with inquiries doubling between 2017 and 2018, when the artist received a number of international solo exhibitions, including shows at the Musée des Beaux-Arts Le Locle, Switzerland, The Photographers’ Gallery, London, and Lehmann Maupin Hong Kong.

Further Reading: Pulling Back the Curtain on Alex Prager’s Mysterious, Cinematic Imagery

Justin Kamp
Art Market

François Morellet’s estate will now be represented by Hauser & Wirth.

Justin Kamp
Nov 24, 2020 9:58PM, via ARTnews

The estate of the late conceptual artist François Morellet will now be represented by Hauser & Wirth, leaving behind Lévy Gorvy, which represented the artist’s estate since 2017. Morellet, who died in 2016 at the age of 90, is best known for his geometric painting and light-based practices, which prefigured Minimalist art and played an important role in the development of geometric abstraction. Hauser & Wirth will stage its first show of Morellet’s work at the gallery’s New York space in January 2021.

Morellet’s foundational experiments with industrial fabrication and neon-based light works arose in part from the artist’s time spent working at his family’s toy factory in Cholet, France. In 1961, he founded the Groupe de Recherche d’Art Visuel (GRAV) with artists Joël Stein, Julio Le Parc, Jean-Pierre Yvaral, Francisco Sobrino, and Horacio Garcia Rossi to create multi-sensory installations; a few years later, he began producing works with neon. Morellet has participated in exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Documenta in Kassel, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Venice Biennale. His work has been acquired by a number of institutions, including the Los Angeles Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Seoul Museum of Art, Tate Britain, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, and the Kunsthaus Zurich. He is also one of three contemporary artists to have a permanent installation at the Louvre in Paris.

Marc Payot, president of Hauser & Wirth, told ARTNews:

Morellet has always occupied a very idiosyncratic position in the evolution of modern and contemporary art, not really fitting neatly into any single, specific movement of “ism.” A precursor to Minimalism and Conceptualism, he was among artists experimenting with materials like neon in the early 1960s, which was very radical for the time.

According to Artsy data, inquiries on works by Morellet on the platform more than doubled the year immediately following the artist's death in 2016. 2017 also saw a posthumous survey of Morellet's work at New York's Dia Art Foundation which was the artist’s first U.S.-based solo museum show since 1985. While interest has waned slightly since then, inquiries in 2020 look to be on track to match 2017's peak.

Justin Kamp
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Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019