Following Phillips’s $12m success with John McEnroe’s sale of Helter Skelter I in London last Winter, the auction house has secured the pendant for sale with an $8m low estimate and a third party guarantee.
Phillips is pleased to announce that it will offer Mark Bradford’s Helter Skelter II, a large-scale work executed in 2007, at its May 16 Evening Sale of 20th Century & Contemporary Art in New York.
Its companion work, Helter Skelter I, was sold by Phillips on behalf of tennis great John McEnroe at its March 2018 auction in London for a record price of $12 million. It was purchased by The Broad Museum in Los Angeles. Phillips had previously held several auction records for the artist for his works Constitution IV and Rat Catcher of Hamelin III.
Jean-Paul Engelen, Worldwide Co-Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, said: “We are thrilled to offer Mark Bradford’s masterpiece, Helter Skelter II, in our May Evening Sale after realizing a world-record price for its companion work last year. These works were first shown side-by-side in 2008 at the inaugural exhibition Collage: The Unmonumental Picture at New York’s New Museum. Since then, the artist has secured his reputation as one of the leading lights of his generation and is internationally lauded for his brilliant pursuit of socially and politically conscious abstraction. His work has been exhibited around the world, and he represented the United States in the 2017 Venice Biennale. It is an honor to represent this great painting.”
Helter Skelter II summons the Manson Family cult murders in Los Angeles in the late 1960s. The attacks were spurred by Charles Manson’s attempts at igniting an apocalyptic race war and blaming black militants for his murders of celebrities, which he dubbed ‘Helter Skelter’ after the Beatles song. The gouged and torn canvas bears witness to the artist’s clever ability to exploit the creative and expressive force of destruction, addressing the persistent issues of race, crime and celebrity culture that continue to structure urban America.
Helter Skelter I and II were created concurrently to his series of silver-clad abstractions that debuted at his solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2007. Both paintings represent the shift in the artist’s practice characterized by a departure from his earlier grid-like work towards more monumental compositions.