Lot 11: HURVIN ANDERSON, “Some People (Welcome Series),” 2004 (oil on canvas, 150 by 232 cm. 59 by 91 3/8 inches). | Estimate £600,000—£800,000 ($832,560-$1,110,080). | Sold for £850,000 ($1,179,460) Hammer Price – £1,029,000 GBP ($1,427,840) including fees

 

A SIGNIFICANT PAINTING by Hurvin Anderson topped $1 million at Sotheby’s London on March 7. A vibrant red canvas, “Some People (Welcome Series)” depicts a bar interior through an elaborate, geometrically designed security grill. The word “Welcome” can be seen at the top of the decorative barrier common in the Caribbean designed to keep “some people” out. Painted in 2004, the lot sold for $1,179,460 ($1,427,840 including fees) in the Contemporary Art Evening Auction.

British-born Anderson’s roots are in Jamaica, where his parents and siblings were born. Last year, he was shortlisted for the Turner Prize.

“Some People (Welcome Series)” was featured in “reporting back,” Anderson’s solo exhibition at Ikon Gallery in 2013. In the exhibition catalog, Jennifer Higgie and Eddie Chambers shed light on the series, its symbolism, and Anderson’s motivation for making the paintings.

“Traveling to Jamaica, since he was in his mid-teens, [Anderson] came to notice the ubiquitous presence of security grilles on windows of residential and commercial properties there. For Anderson Jamaica is very different to that enjoyed by holidaymakers from the US or Europe, who, with rare exception, effectively barricade themselves into beach resorts. His Jamaica might appear to be very similar, in the ways in which people live, work and socialize, but instead, for Black British people of local heritage, it is loaded with an unsettling ambivalence signified by the security devices used by almost all Jamaican householders. And by noticing them, Anderson came to paint a remarkable series of paintings,” Chambers writes.

“The paintings—known as the Welcome series—are both a highly-charged visual investigation into the ubiquity of security grilles in countries such as Jamaica, and an exploration of their geometric patterning. In making them, Anderson also triggered considerations of security, exclusion, and what we see, or what we imagine we see, when we look through other peoples grilles, into their homes and lives.”

“The paintings—known as the Welcome series—are both a highly-charged visual investigation into the ubiquity of security grilles in countries such as Jamaica, and an exploration of their geometric patterning. In making them, Anderson also triggered considerations of security, exclusion, and what we see, or what we imagine we see, when we look through other peoples grilles, into their homes and lives.” — Eddie Chambers

Higgie writes: “Anderson defines post-colonialism as something both physical—i.e., a location—and a state of mind, ‘a mass of contradictions.’ Take, for example, the ironically titled Welcome series (2002-05) which was inspired by a bar in Trinidad that replaced its windows with a decorative deep-red metal grille patterned with starbursts: an attractive pattern created to keep some people out. ‘They’re decorative,’ explained Anderson, ‘but their purpose is security.’ In Some People (Welcome Series) (2004) he rendered the empty, open-air bar, complete with posters and tables, in cool, loose brushstrokes that, in parts, are small studies in geometric abstraction. Looking into the oddly desolate venue through the iron-work immediately shifts the viewer into the position of voyeur, begging the question: ‘Who is keeping whom out?'”

 

Sotheby’s March contemporary auctions featured additional lots of interest, including several key works by African American artists. The selection is featured below:

 
Contemporary Art Evening Auction, London, March 7, 2018


Lot 32: SAM GILLIAM, “After Micro W #2,” 1982 (acrylic on polyester, 114.3 x 172.7 x 22.9 cm., 45 x 68 x 9 inches). | Estimate £150,000-£200,000 ($208,140-$277,520). Sold for £160,000 ($222,016) Hammer Price – £200,000 ($277,520) including fees

 

The consignor, flipped this Sam Gilliam painting. It was purchased in September 2016, from a Paddle 8 auction, and then featured in a gallery show at Pace London last year. “Impulse,” an “exhibition of radical abstract painting from the United States in the 1960s and ’70s,” featured works by Kenneth Noland, Morris Louis, Ed Clark, Frank Bowling, and Gilliam. The Gilliam painting was cited as belonging to a “private collection.” The Pace London exhibition was on view Nov. 3-Dec. 22, 2017.

 


Lot 51: JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT, “Ero,” 1984 (acrylic, oilstick and Xerox collage on canvas, 218.5 by 249 cm. 86 by 98 inches). | Estimate £1,500,000-£2,000,000 ($2,081,400-$2,775,200). Sold for £2,000,000 ($2,775,200) Hammer Price – £2,409,000 ($3,342,728) including fees

 
Contemporary Day Auction, London, March 8, 2018


Lot 123: MARK BRADFORD, “Untitled,” 2006 (mixed media collage on board, 31.7 by 56.4 cm., 12 1/2 by 22 1/4 inches). | Estimate £90,000-£120,000 ($125,091-$166,788). Sold for about £80,000 ($111,192) Hammer Price / £100,000 ($138,990) including fees

 

Mark Bradford generally makes large-scale paintings measured by the foot. At approximately 12 x 22 inches, the above work is small by comparison. Despite its modest size, the work exhibits the key attributes for which the artist’s work is recognized—collaged layers of found paper, moments of brights color, and social content. The featured Spanish phrase means “divorce custody” in English.

The same day this work sold for $138,990, including fees, A collage painting by Bradford titled “Helter Skelter I” sold for $10.4 million (nearly $12 million, including fees) at Phillips London. The price is an artist record, setting a new high mark for Bradford.

 
Contemporary Curated, New York, March 2, 2018


Lot 35: SAM GILLIAM, Untitled, 1968 (acrylic on canvas, 62 x 66.5 inches). | Estimate $200,000-$300,000. Sold for $725,000 (hammer price)/$885,000 (including fees) ARTIST RECORD

 

READ MORE about this painting which achieved a new artist record for Sam Gilliam on Culture Type

 


Lot 36: JACK WHITTEN, “1 Piece of Wyoming,” 1969 (acrylic on canvas, 59 5/8 by 114 1/4 inches, 151.4 by 290.2 cm.). | Estimate $40,000-$60,000. Sold for $60,000 (including fees)

 


Lot 37: SAM GILLIAM, Untitled, 1968 (watercolor and metallic paint on folded paper, 14 by 19 1/2 in. 35.6 by 49.5 cm.). | Estimate $5,000-$7,000. Sold for $50,000 (including fees)

 


Lot 281: LORNA SIMPSON, “Cloud,” 2005 (serigraph on felt flush-mounted to board, in 9 parts
Each: 27 3/4 by 27 7/8 inches, 70.5 by 70.8 cm.). This work is number 2 from an edition of 3, plus 2 artist’s proofs. | Estimate $70,000-$100,000. Sold for $87,500. AUCTION RECORD

 

Lorna Simpson has pursued a number of innovations in her conceptual photography practice, including printing on felt, which she did with the above work. Recently, she has focused on a new medium, painting, and she is also exploring sculpture.

 

READ MORE about this record-setting work by Lorna Simpson on Culture Type

 


Lot 301: MICKALENE THOMAS, “You Can’t Turn Me Off (In the Middle of Turning Me On),” 2006 (rhinestones, acrylic and enamel on panel, 72 by 60 inches, 182.9 by 152.4 cm.). | Estimate $30,000-$40,000. UNSOLD
CT

 

READ MORE About how “Artists would do well to invest in their own work, study says”

 

BOOKSHELF
“Hurvin Anderson: Reporting Back” was published on the occasion of his survey exhibition at Ikon Gallery in Birmingham UK. “Sam Gilliam: 1967-1973” documents Sam Gilliam’s 2017 exhibition at Mnuchin Gallery, his first solo show in New York in 25 years. A new volume, “Lorna Simpson Collages,” is forthcoming in June. To further explore Lorna Simpson’s work, “Lorna Simpson” is a comprehensive catalogue documenting her body of work over the past three decades. “Basquiat: Boom for Real” is the latest volume to document the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat. “Mark Bradford: Tomorrow is Another Day” was published to coincide with his solo exhibition in the U.S. Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale. Released last month, “Mark Bradford: Pickett’s Charge” complements the artist’s installation at the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum—Bradford’s largest work to date, and his first-ever exhibition in Washington, D.C.

 

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