On Friday, Sotheby’s announced that Margherita Maccapani Missoni, heir to her family’s eponymous Italian fashion house will partner as a guest curator for the auction house’s eighth edition of its Contemporary Curated sale in London, which will open bidding from April 14-21st.
The sales will feature pieces by both lesser-known and blue-chip contemporary artists such as Eddie Martinez, Damien Hirst, Yayoi Kusama, Tim Noble & Sue Webster, Alighiero Boetti, Yoshitomo Nara and George Condo, among others. Carrying more affordable price points, the ‘Contemporary Curated’ series remains an opportunity for collectors to explore new and established artist’s markets. Guest curation by luxury tastemakers has become a staple across Sotheby’s contemporary segment —hosting Dior Homme director Kim Jones in the March New York series, as well as Roksanda Ilincic, Jill Stuart and Victoria Beckham lending an eye in past seasons.
Describing her artistic inclinations as “irresistibly drawn and simultaneously repulsed by grotesque aesthetics” Missoni’s selection of highlights from the sale find intrigue in the radically unpalatable that threads throughout emerging contemporary art. Among the highlights on offer in the sale include Yayoi Kusama’s 1993 Star, featuring the artist’s signature obsessive repeated patterning estimated at £150,000–200,000, as well as Monir Farmanfarmaian’s steel-and-painted-mirrored-glass piece Geometry of Hope from 1975 slated with an estimate of £300,000–400,000. Another work, Pfeifenköpfe (Box #2), by artist Albert Oehlen, known for merging the crude and the neutral, features a pink-hued print adorned with three pipes which is priced an estimate of £20,000-30,000.
A collector in her own right, Missoni recalls of the conceptual artist William Anastasi, whose work is included in the auction, “I once read ‘if Duchamp’s aim was to kill art, Anastasi displays the corpse, in various stages of decay.’ I still can’t find better words to describe his ingenius artistic journey.”
Missoni is the granddaughter of Ottavio and Rosita Missoni, founders of the fashion label established in 1953. Recently-appointed as the creative director to the brand’s millennial sub-label, the heiress carries the aesthetic legacy signature to the globally renowned knitwear company that gained notoriety in the 1970s for its bold maximalism. Following their inaugural runway show in 1967 in Florence, the house attracted international interest among fashion industry leaders, and under the direction of two generation of Missoni women, the label became internationally recognized for its signature bold print and pattern motif referential to the seminal eras of Italian fashion.
The Italian house is a pioneer among its contemporary brands, which boasts 65 years in business with art direction run solely by Missoni descendants — the business model is a rarity in the luxury industry. Coinciding with the younger Missoni’s assignment to the brand’s offshoot label, in 2018, Missoni sold a minority of its stake to an Italian state-backed private equity fund with plans of expansion.