Saturday 26 May 2018

Christie's says dedicating auction to African art 'ghettoising' artists

Veiled Sorrow (circa 2008), a charcoal on paper work by Njideka Akunyili Crosby, for Christie's Post-War to Present auction. PIC: c/o Christie's

 Including a mix of artists across generations and cultures in its upcoming 'Post-war to Present' sale, Christie's statement suggests that dedicating auction to African art is 'ghettoising' the artists.
 Christie's Head of post- war and contemporary art in Europe, Francis Outred told The Art  Newspaper's Anny Shaw that the London sale, scheduled for June 28 will feature works by Old masters such as Ben Enwonwu, William Copley and Willi Baumeister alongside emerging names Katharine Grosse,
Alicja Kwade and Njideka Akunyili Crosby.

Shaw wrote: 'Unlike Sotheby’s, Christie’s has no dedicated contemporary African sale (Outred says Christie’s has no interest in “ghettoising African artists”), but both new day sales venture beyond the Euro-centric canon'.

Last year, Sotheby's made its debut auction of modern and Contemporary African art in London. But the same auction house, few weeks ago made impressive sales when it featured artists of African descents in another non-regional dedicated sale.
 The report, however appears that Outred's statement was political and perhaps targeted at Christie's main  rival, Sotheby's.

 There is no doubt that Sotheby's came here (African art space), ahead of Christie's. Early last year, Sotheby's sold Akunyili Crosby's piece for a record £2.1m in London. The same auction house debuted with 80 artists of combined modern and contemporary African artists, but recorded low sales of £2,794,750 (about $3,600,000) for 79 lots sold out of a total 116 put on display.

Christie's always had one evening and one day sale for summer. But next month, Outred disclosed there will be two auctions, both on the same day:  'Post-War to Present' and 'Handpicked' a Saatchi’s collection of 100' works.
 The auction house, according reports, has similar plan for New York in March and September.
 Artists from the Saatchi Collection include David Brian Smith, Kristin Baker and Raffi Kalenderian with prices ranging from £500 to £30,000, and proceeds going towards the Saatchi Gallery’s free entry.

 “We like to keep our collectors thinking, rather than presenting the same material over and over again”. Outred described 'Handpicked' as “a trip down memory lane of the shows he [Saatchi] has had over the past 15 years, including those which have focused on Latin American and Chinese artists.”

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