Phillips Sale Soars with
Yoshitomo Nara Painting

Hong Kong, 08 June 2021
Yoshitomo Nara, Missing in Action (2000). Acrylic on canvas. 165 x 150cm. Courtesy Philips and Poly Auction.

The undisputed star of the show for Phillips Hong Kong Evening Sale on 8 June 2021 was this Yoshitomo Nara painting titled Missing in Action.

The painting sold for just over $3 million in 2015 with Phillips, but Nara's prices have exploded in the last few years, so it came as no surprise when the painting fetched $16 million, the second highest price Nara has ever fetched at auction.

Sam Gaskin reported on the sale in Ocula News.

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Six London Gallery Weekend Highlights
London, 03 June 2021
Stefanie Heinze, Studio Scenery (Clash of Muses) (2021). Oil and acrylic on linen, two parts. 205 x 290 cm. Courtesy Pippy Houldsworth Gallery.
Yayoi Kusama, On Hearing the Sunset Afterglow's Message of Love, My Heart Shed Tears (2021). Acrylic on canvas. 130.3 x 130.3 cm. © YAYOI KUSAMA. Courtesy Ota Fine Arts and Victoria Miro.
Frank Bowling, Swimmers (2020). Acrylic, acrylic gel and found objects on collaged canvas. 229.3 x 326.4 x 8 cm. © Frank Bowling. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Thomas Barratt.
Alicia Reyes McNamara, Misunderstood Spirit (2021). Oil on canvas. 30 x 40 cm. Courtesy Niru Ratnam.
Clementine Keith-Roach, Double Ocean (2021). Terracotta vessel, jesmonite, resin clay, modelling paste, acrylic paint and resin. 55 x 62 x 60 cm. Courtesy Ben Hunter.
Joseph Yaeger, The Euphemism (2021). Watercolour on gessoed linen 200.5 x 140.5 x 4 cm. Courtesy Project Native Informant.

Ocula Advisory select a collection of highlights showing in London for the inaugural London Gallery Weekend, from Yayoi Kusama's widely recognised dot paintings at Victoria Miro, to emerging artist Alicia Reyes McNamara's spellbinding Central London show at Niru Ratnam.

  1. Stefanie Heinze at Pippy Houldsworth Gallery
  2. Yayoi Kusama at Victoria Miro Gallery
  3. Frank Bowling at Hauser & Wirth
  4. Alicia Reyes McNamara Niru Ratnam
  5. Clementine Keith-Roach at Ben Hunter
  6. Joseph Yaeger at Project Native Informant
Joseph Yaeger and Alicia Reys McNamara
in London

London, 02 June 2021
Joseph Yaeger, Vertigo (2021). Watercolour on gessoed linen. 51 x 41 x 2 cm. Courtesy Project Native Informant.
Joseph Yaeger, The Euphemism (2021). Watercolour on gessoed linen 200.5 x 140.5 x 4 cm. Courtesy Project Native Informant.
Alicia Reyes McNamara, Guilty Moons (2021). Oil on canvas. 40 x 50 cm.
Alicia Reyes McNamara, Misunderstood Spirit (2021). Oil on canvas. 30 x 40 cm. Courtesy Niru Ratnam.

Two exciting young painters, Joseph Yaeger and Alicia Reyes McNamara, currently have solo exhibitions in London at Project Native Informant and Niru Ratnam respectively.

Both artists studied in the U.K., but take very different approaches to figurative painting. Yaeger uses watercolour on gessoed canvas to create images gleaned from fleeting memories, often incorporating reflections, doubling, or unconventional close-ups.

McNamara's work is centred around Mexican and Irish mythology, specifically water myths and often the female figures within these.

Francis Alÿs at
David Zwirner

Paris, 28 May 2021

The unique sense of depth and perspective achieved through the brilliant use of colour by Belgium-born artist Francis Alÿs is what we particularly love about this painting. ⁠

Representing Belgium at the 2022 Venice Biennale, Mexico-based artist Francis Alÿs opened his first show in David Zwirner's Paris gallery on 27 May, presenting an intriguing and moving collection of observational works.

Based on his study of border regions experiencing socio-political conflict, his paintings take viewers to Jerusalem, the Turkish-Armenian border, and the Panama Canal Zone, to name but a few. ⁠

Main image: Francis Alÿs, Untitled (Study for ‘Don’t Cross the Bridge Before You Get to the River’) (2007-2008). © Francis Alÿs. Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner⁠.
Michael Armitage at the
Royal Academy of Arts

London, 26 May 2021
Michael Armitage, The Chicken Thief (2019). Oil on lubugo bark cloth. 200 x 150 cm. Courtesy the artist and White Cube. © Michael Armitage. © White Cube (Theo Christelis).⁠ 

There's a lot to celebrate in London this month with the re-opening of the Royal Academy of Arts and a stream of other top art institutions post-lockdown. ⁠

The Royal Academy of Arts opens with Michael Armitage's ground-breaking exhibition, Paradise Edict, showcasing an extraordinary group of 15 Goya-esque works, which showed at Munich's Haus der Kunst last year.

Rendered on Ugandan lubugo cloth, The Chicken Thief draws on all corners of Armitage's life, from his upbringing in Nairobi and his education at London's Slade School of Art, to his return to the landscapes, politics, and visual narratives of Kenya, where he keeps a studio.⁠

Alberto Biasi at M77
Milan, 25 May 2021
Alberto Biasi, Agli estremi (2010). Carving and acrylic on canvas. 147 x 83 x 5 cm. Exhibition view: The Visibility of the Invisible, M77, Milan (17 May–19 September 2021). Courtesy Alberto Biasi Archive and M77. Photo: Michael Haggerty.

We really enjoyed reading Ocula Magazine Associate Editor Tessa Moldan's Insight into Alberto Biasi's practice.

The artist's kinetic, illusory works placed him at the forefront of the post-war Italian art scene. ⁠The Visibility of the Invisible at M77 in Milan traces the artist's 60-year career, from his interest in art and science as a young boy in the 1940s growing up in Padua to spearheading Gruppo N in the 1960s.

Samson Young
at Capitain Petzel

Berlin, 22 May 2021
Samson Young, DAO35 (2021). 3D printed PLA, custom-software and electronics. 84 x 14 x 14 cm. Courtesy Capitain Petzel. ⁠

Traversing physical and digital realms, Samson Young's latest sculpture DAO35 is part of a larger exploration into Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching—a 6th century BC classical Taoist text.

Chapters from the text are run through the sculpture's algorithmic framework, in turn producing an output of text, or 'translation', which is both 3D-printed as well as sent in the form of call to Galerie Gisela Capitain in Cologne. Pretty cool! ⁠

The Hong Kong-based artist is the winner of both the prestigious 2015 BMW Art Journey Prize and the inaugural Sigg Prize in 2020, established in 2018 by Hong Kong's M+ museum.⁠

Ocula Magazine spoke to the artist in 2017, in the wake of the artist's solo project at the 57th Venice Biennale in Hong Kong. The artist's exhibition at Capitain Petzel in Berlin runs until 19 June.

Tomoo Gokita
at Blum & Poe

Los Angeles, 19 May 2021

Supernatural figures conjured from Tomoo Gokita's imagination form the subject of the Tokyo-based artist's solo exhibition Fresh at Blum & Poe's Los Angeles space, running until 26 June.⁠

Greyscale works have formed the basis of Gokita's oeuvre over the last decade, however this new series of paintings sees a renewed exploration into sultry pastel colours portraying dreamlike figures with a similar contortion employed by that of the Surrealists.⁠

Main image: Tomoo Gokita, Our Delight (2021). Acrylic on canvas. 162 x 162 cm. © Tomoo Gokita. Courtesy the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo⁠.
Advisory Picks: Christie's
20th Century Evening Sale

New York, 12 May 2021
Pablo Picasso, Femme assise près d’une fenêtre (Marie-Thérèse) (1932). Oil on canvas. 144.78  x 111.76 cm. © Christie’s Images Limited 2021⁠⁠.
Piet Mondrian, Composition: No II, With Yellow, Red and Blue (1927). Oil on canvas. 48.26 x 35.56 cm. ⁠© Christie’s Images Limited 2021⁠⁠.
Lee Krasner, Untitled (1962). Oil on canvas. 162.56 x 147.32 cm. © Christie’s Images Limited 2021⁠⁠.
Ellsworth Kelly, Medium Blue Panel (1986). Oil on shaped canvas. 210.2 x 262.9 cm.⁠⁠ © Christie’s Images Limited 2021⁠⁠.

Picasso, Mondrian, Krasner, and Kelly's works are some our favourites that went up for auction at Christie's 20th Century Evening Sale on 13 May. ⁠⁠

Pablo Picasso, Femme assise près d'une fenêtre (Marie-Thérèse) (1932). Oil on canvas. 144.78 x 111.76 cm.

Piet Mondrian, Composition: No II, With Yellow, Red and Blue (1927). Oil on canvas. 48.26 x 35.56 cm. ⁠⁠

Lee Krasner, Untitled (1962). Oil on canvas. 162.56 x 147.32 cm. Estimate USD 5,000,000-7,000,000. ⁠⁠

Ellsworth Kelly, Medium Blue Panel (1986). Oil on shaped canvas. 210.2 x 262.9 cm.⁠⁠ Estimate USD 3,800,000 - 5,000,000.

NFT: Banksy
at Sotheby’s

11 May 2021

After the historic inaugural NFT sales of works by the digital artists Beeple and Pak at Christie's and Sotheby's respectively, we are beginning to see auction houses adapting to the increased fervour surrounding cryptocurrency as a form of payment and digital arts appeal as the NFT market has emerged.⁠

While cryptocurrency was accepted by Sotheby's for their NFT sale, Banksy's _Love is in the Air _is the first physical work to be offered at an auction house in exchange for cryptocurrency; specifically bitcoin and ethereum.⁠

Read Sam Gaskin's recent coverage on the sale here.

Main image: Banksy, Love is in the Air (2005). Oil and spray paint on canvas. 90 x 90 cm. Courtesy Sotheby's⁠.
Huma Bhabha
at Salon 94

New York, 11 May 2021
Huma Bhabha, Receiver (2019). Bronze. 250.8 x 45.7 x 63.5 cm.⁠ © Huma Bhabha⁠⁠. Courtesy the artist and Salon 94, New York.
Huma Bhabha, Receiver (2019) (detail). Bronze. 250.8 x 45.7 x 63.5 cm.⁠ © Huma Bhabha⁠⁠. Courtesy the artist and Salon 94, New York.
Huma Bhabha, Receiver (2019) (detail). Bronze. 250.8 x 45.7 x 63.5 cm.⁠ © Huma Bhabha⁠⁠. Courtesy the artist and Salon 94, New York.

At eight feet tall, Receiver by Huma Bhabha is an imposing and fabulously evocative sculpture, perfectly embodying the artist's reinterpretation of relics and monuments of the ancient world. ⁠⁠

Her sublime sculptures look to reimagine the power historically attributed to monuments, placing works such as Receiver in the realm of what we understand as counter-monuments. ⁠⁠

Facing Giants, Huma Bhabha's solo show at Salon 94's 89th Street space in New York runs until 26 June. ⁠⁠

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