Categories ArtPosted on

Basquiat’s Masterpiece ‘Untitled’ Breaks Artist and Auction Records

Is Jean-Michel Basquiat turning in his grave? Last week in his hometown New York, where he was so badly treated during most of his life, Sotheby’s set an auction record for the artist when ‘Untitled’, a masterpiece from 1982, was purchased by noted collector and entrepreneur, Yusaku Maezawa (the founder of e-commerce giant, Start Today, and ZOZOTOWN, the virtual mall on Japan’s largest fashion e-commerce site), for $110,487,500 (£86,325,105). The price nearly doubled the pre-sale estimate of $60 million after a 10-minute contest between multiple bidders. The painting will eventually be housed in a planned museum based in Mr Maezawa’s hometown of Chiba, Japan. Meanwhile, it will be exhibited in institutions and museums around the world, according to the the brand-new owner.

ean-Michel Basquiat UNTITLED

‘Untitled’ is a landmark canvas created by the artist in 1982 (a time when his career was still at an early stage), rich with imagery now synonymous with the artist, such as the crown and graffiti-like typography sprawling across the canvas. Before being unveiled at Sotheby’s just weeks ago, this work was virtually unknown, having remained in the same private collection since it was purchased at auction in 1984 for $19,000.

As a passionate collector and patron of the arts, Mr Maezawa is a great champion of both established and young artists around the world. His interest in Japanese antiquity extends to a great collection of rare, historical objects; not to mention modern and contemporary works that include more by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Alexander Calder, Alberto Giacometti, Mark Grotjahn, Donald Judd, On Kawara, Jeff Koons, Bruce Nauman, Pablo Picasso, Richard Prince and Christopher Wool.

The price achieved for the latest ‘Untitled’ eclipsed the previous auction record for the artist established in May 2016, when another ‘Untitled’ work from 1982 was also purchased by Mr Maezawa for $57.3 million (nearly £45 million). It seems that ‘Air Power’, which went under the hammer at Sotheby’s London as part of David Bowie collection on the evening of 10th November 2016 for a mere £7,093,000 was a very good deal.

After the announcement of his purchase via Instagram and Twitter, Mr Maezawa commented later to Sotheby’s: “When I saw this painting, I was struck with so much excitement and gratitude for my love of art. I want to share that experience with as many people as possible around the world – regardless of age or background or whether they are a collector or not. One day the painting will be a centrepiece of my museum in my hometown Chiba, but before then I wish to loan this piece – which has been unseen by the public for more than 30 years – to institutions and exhibitions around the world. I hope it brings as much joy to others as it does to me, and that this masterpiece by the 21-year-old Basquiat inspires our future generations.” SEEN just hopes that London will also have the chance to admire it, even if it is just for a short while.

Seen this week

Categories FashionPosted on

AVANTgarden: Be You, Be Proud

SEEN is intrigued to hear about AVANTgarden from FKA Twigs, a new digizine dedicated to self-care, beauty and the art of braids within the black community. Certainly on my voyaging around London, I’m struck, as an observer, by the beauty and complexity of the braids I see.

Categories Food&DrinkPosted on

Halloween at Sexy Fish

In London, you don’t go on a night out so much as partake of a new experience. Leave it to the gloriously named Sexy Fish in Mayfair to add a unique event to this year’s Halloween calendar.

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Ladies of the Press at Sluice Biennial

SEEN headed up to Hackney recently, there to peruse this year’s Sluice Biennial. A large and airy building at Morning Lane housed fascinating creative projects by artists and creators who have come together under the Sluice banner. What SEEN particularly liked was the variety of work on display and the informal atmosphere in which it …

Categories EntertainmentPosted on

The Castle at the Space: SEEN Reviews

SEEN was not that familiar with the work of Howard Barker prior to seeing ‘The Castle’ but feels she must rectify that situation. A powerful piece on the nature of masculinity, war, gender roles and the essential unreliability of religious faith, ‘The Castle’ benefits from a powerhouse cast and a stripped-back set, making the most of the Space’s environment.

Categories MusicPosted on

Original Swimming Party Release ‘Biggest Curse’

Electronic experimental duo Original Swimming Party, have announced the release of their new single  ‘Biggest Curse’ featuring vocalist Moonchild Sanelly. Taken from their forthcoming remix EP, the single is now available to stream from October 6th.

Categories Food&DrinkPosted on

Heist Bank Beer Festival

Beer connoisseurs would do well to get themselves along to the Heist Bank Beer Festival this weekend, the 14th and 15th October. The bar in Paddington will be celebrating the finest keg and cask beers known to humanity, from UK brewers, Fourpure, Beavertown, Thornbridge and Wild Beer Co., who will headline, launching special seasonal releases …