Christie’s has unveiled a group of 17 works to go on offer in the firm’s upcoming contemporary day sale on July 10 to benefit amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research. They will be included in a dedicated section titled From the Studio, featuring pieces new to the market donated by primary-market pillars like Eddie Martinez, Dana Schutz, Raymond Pettibon, Rashid Johnson, Kenny Scharf, Leelee Kimmel, Michael Kagan, and Erik Parker; previously announced for the same sale were works by Cecily Brown, Urs Fischer, and George Condo.
Among the offerings is Martinez’s Untitled (Sleeper for amfAR), carrying an estimate of $60,000 to $80,000. The Brooklyn-based artist, much in demand among global collectors in recent auction seasons, completed the work while in quarantine. Johnson’s Untitled Anxious Red Drawing, also made in the last several months, will go on offer in the sale at an estimate of $20,000 to $30,000.
While charity auctions are a long-held practice in the secondary market, this sale marks a new era for auction house leaders—forcing business strategies that target new ways to source valuable consignments and mitigate risk for clients, while feeding demand. Global auctions across top houses this week have shown that buying remains active.
For this sale, Christie’s tapped Tribeca dealer Michael Nevin, the founder of Journal Gallery, to help source emerging talent that has been in demand in the contemporary middle market. “Almost every artist contributing to the From the Studio benefit produced the work donated while in quarantine—a time of great reflection,” said Nevin in a statement. “As a result, these artworks possess a unique significance, and reference a transformative time in history.”
The houses’s partnership with a leading philanthropic organization such as amfAR brings a valuable branding moment for the firm as live programming remains halted. It also provides conservatively valued works fresh to the market to vying buyers, while eliminating risk on the consignor side.
Additionally, François-Henri Pinault—CEO of Christie’s holding company, Kering—has stepped in with an offer to bolster the sale, donating a private event and exhibition tour at the Paris museum Bourse de Commerce to competing bidders, to take place in January 2021.