The Success of KAWS in Hong Kong has a few people unhappy; Sotheby's African Art = £2.3m; Sotheby's Fine Chinese Painting = HKD 488m; Gagosian Expands in LA
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My congratulations to the thoughtful, measured bidders who have secured KAWS an auction record higher than every single woman artist alive today. https://t.co/q1lpnBcljS
— Andrew Russeth (@AndrewRusseth) April 1, 2019
Nothing, and I mean nothing, summarizes the current state and future trajectory of the art market better than a Kaws painting selling for nearly 15 million dollars LOL
— phillip jeffries (@baysidekniight) April 2, 2019
The sale of KAWS’s painting based upon a Simpsons parody of the Beatles for $14.7m on Monday struck an uncomfortable nerve among too many observers. The auction result was not unlike the moment in 2007 when a Peter Doig painting, White Canoe, suddenly and unexpectedly was the subject of a bidding war that ended at $11.3m.
At the time, the sale seemed unnerving. Many in the market were not sure which explanation caused them greater unease about the future of the market, that the Doig’s price was a fluke or that it might be a harbinger.
In the end, Doig’s market eventually grew into the price and surpassed it. What happens next with KAWS is anybody’s guess. But there’s a consistent need to explain the demand for his work away.
- “The auction room suddenly got a lot hipper, with all these cool millennial buyers in hoodies,” said Edie Hu, art advisory specialist at Citi Private Bank in Hong Kong. “Their tastes are very different from their parents, and Sotheby’s is tapping into that.”
Nevermind that the 48-year-old seller of the work, the streetwear entrepreneur behind the Bathing Ape brand, was the seller and many of the current holders of KAWS’s works are in their 50s and 60s.
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