Njideka Akunyili Crosby %22Super Blue Omo,%22 2016 - Victoria Miro Gallery


MUSEUMS HAVE TAKEN AN INTEREST in Njideka Akunyili Crosby. At Art Basel, Victoria Miro Gallery of London sold “Super Blue Omo” (above), a new, large-scale figurative work by the Los Angeles-based painter to a museum. According to BLOUIN ARTINFO, the painting went to “an unidentified American museum for an otherwise indeterminate five-figure price.”

UPDATE: On July 6, the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Fla., announced it had acquired Akunyili Crosby’s “Super Blue Omo.”

The Akunyili Crosby painting was among a number of works by black artists that found buyers at the international art fair in Basel, Switzerland.

Representation in major museum collections is key to establishing an artist’s reputation, value, and stature within the art historical canon. The Art Basel transaction follows a Whitney Museum of Art purchase of Akunyili Crosby’s “Portals” (2016) at the Armory Show in New York in March, and earlier acquisitions by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Studio Museum in Harlem, Duke University’s Nasher Museum of Art, the Tate, and two museums in Cape Town, among others. Her alma maters (Yale University Art Gallery and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts) have also acquired her work.

The Art Basel transaction follows a Whitney Museum of Art purchase of Akunyili Crosby’s “Portals” (2016) at the Armory Show in New York, and earlier acquisitions by several museums.

A critically lauded emerging artist in her early 30s, Akunyili Crosby has had a remarkable few years. The Nigerian-born artist was awarded the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s James Dicke Contemporary Art Prize in 2014, the same day Victoria Miro announced its representation of Akunyili Crosby. Last year, the Studio Museum in Harlem honored her with its Wein Prize, and today it was announced that she is the winner of the 2016 Canson Prize recognizing achievements in works on paper.

Akunyili Crosby’s first solo exhibitions in Los Angeles were on view concurrently at the Hammer Museum and Art + Practice (2015). Another solo show, “I Refuse to be Invisible,” was presented at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach earlier this year. “Portals” is currently on view in the group exhibition “Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney’s Collection” (April 27, 2016–Feb 12, 2017).

“Super Blue Omo,” the painting sold at Art Basel, was created in 2016. It depicts a single female figure seated on a sofa by a lamp with a pink shade. There is a tea service on the table before her and a vintage television is showing the image of two African women. The painting exemplifies the mixed-media paintings for which the artist is known. Multilayered in meaning and material, Akunyili Crosby’s work explores transcontinental identity through a combination of drawing, painting and collage.

According to BLOUIN ARTINFO, the painting “was offered solely to museums, more than 18 of which are on Miro’s waiting list for works by the artist,” who only makes five or six works a year.

The Akunyili Crosby painting “was offered solely to museums, more than 18 of which are on Miro’s waiting list for works by the artist,” who only makes five or six works a year. — BLOUIN ARTINFO


KM16.002 Untitled (Looking Man) HR
KERRY JAMES MARSHALL, “Untitled (Looking Man),” 2016 (acrylic on PVC panel). | © Kerry James Marshall. Courtesy the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery


OVER AT JACK SHAINMAN of New York, sales were brisk. For the first time, the gallery was situated in the main section of fair and issued a release reporting sales of works by Barkley L. Hendricks, Kerry James Marshall, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, within the first 15 minutes of the opening of the fair’s VIP preview.

Fresh from Marshall’s Chicago studio, “Untitled (Looking Man),” 2016 for $350,000. “Bringing a painting like that is kind of a luxury problem,” Shainman told Artsy of the fervent demand for Marshall’s work. “I’ve had a waiting list for work by Kerry even in the olden days,” when, in 2009, he presented the artist in the Statements sector. A major survey of Marshall’s work is currently on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

Jack Shainman also featured works by El Anatsui, Nick Cave, Odili Donald Odita, and Hank Willis Thomas, among others.

Elsewhere at Art Basel, Nicholas Baume, the director and chief curator of the Public Art Fund, told the New York Times he was particularly struck by Pope.L’s performance at Unlimited’s opening, in which the artist wandered through the fair in a white gorilla suit before departing in a white limousine.

“One of the things this fair can do is bring together galleries, curators and artists from all over the world and create some unique experiences,” Baume said.


BARKLEY L. HENDRICKS, “The Twins,” 1977 (oil and acrylic on canvas, diptych). | © Barkley L. Hendricks. Courtesy the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.


Over the course of the four-day fair (June 16-19), BLOUIN ARTINFO, Artsy, ARTNET NEWS, and the New York Times, reported on select gallery sales. The following information was gleaned from those reports:

  • Blum & Poe sold two paintings by Henry Taylor for $90,000 and $80,000.
  • David Zwirner Gallery sold Stan Douglas‘s six-hour video “Luanda-Kinshasa,” in collaboration with Victoria Miro Gallery in London, to an unnamed collector. The gallery also sold “a new large-scale painting from 2016 by Kerry James Marshall for $1 million to a client from the United States.”
  • Galeria Pedro Cera sold Adam Pendleton’s Unlimited installation “Victim of American Democracy” to a private Spanish collector ($300,000).
  • Galerie Nathalie Obadia sold “Portrait of Qusuquzah #7” 2016 by Mickalene Thomas to a Swiss private collection ($105,000), and Thomas’s “Portrait of Din #5” 2016 to a Belgian private collection ($105,000). Both mixed=media works were executed with rhinestones, acrylic, and oil on wood panel. The gallery also sold “Fool’s Mask IV, Hever Castle, England (Torture)” a 2015 photograph by Andres Serrano to a French private collection ($36,000).
  • Goodman Gallery of Johannesburg sold Kudzanai Chiurai’s painting “Untitled (Office for the Enregisterment of Slaves)” 2016 to a private European collection ($30,000); “No conciliation is possible I” 2016 an ink and collage on paper by Nolan Oswald Dennis ($3,900); Gerald Machona’s “The Iris” 2016, and Machona’s “The Chrysanthemum” 2016 ($3,380); and “Lucie’s Fur Version 1:1:1 – L’Annunciazione – Mme. OEUF!” 2003 by Tracey Rose ($16,900).
  • Jack Shainman Gallery sold Barkley L. Hendricks’s “The Twins” 1977 ($450,000), Kerry James Marshall’s “Untitled (Looking Man)” 2016 ($350,000), and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s “Peregrine” 2016 ($100,000).
  • Lehman Maupin sold “Idabi” 2016 by Nicholas Hlobo in the range of $80,000-$120,000.
  • Luhring Augustine sold six to seven pieces quickly, including a Glenn Ligon priced “under $1 million.”
  • Mitchell-Innes & Nash sold Pope.L’s “Gold People Dick the Mist” 2015-16, for approximately $85,000.
  • Stevenson Gallery of Johannesburg and Cape Town sold almost their entire booth on the first day, including a painting by Meleko Mokgosi to a private collection in London; a photograph by Zanele Muholi to an American museum; a Kemang Wa Lehulere sculpture to a foundation in Southern Africa; a work by Barthelemy Toguo; and a drawing by Robin Rhode.
  • Van de Weghe Limited sold two 1983 paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat, for $4 million and $5.5 million, to a German and an Italian collector. CT

TOP IMAGE: Njideka Akunyili Crosby’s NJIDEKA AKUNYILI CROSBY, “Super Blue Omo,” 2016 (acrylic, transfers, coloured pencils, collage on paper). | © Njideka Akunyili Crosby. Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro, London via BLOUIN ARTINFO


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LYNETTE YIADOM-BOAKYE, “Peregrine,” 2016 (oil on canvas). | © Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. Courtesy the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery


STAN DOUGLAS, Installation view of “Luanda-Kinshasa,” 2013 (single-channel video projection; color, sound; 6 hours, 1 minute loop), from the 2013 solo exhibition “Luanda-Kinshasa” at David Zwirner, New York | Image courtesy David Zwirner, New York/London

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