Our online platform makes it easy to bid on your own schedule, anytime, and anywhere, for two full weeks (bidding closes 29 July). With exciting, fresh-to-market works by Alexander Calder, Richard Prince, Jeff Koons, Bosco Sodi, Robert Rauschenberg and many more, this sale is a unique opportunity to acquire art by blue chip and emerging artists at accessible price points. Lisa Dennison, Chairman, Sotheby's North and South America, sat down to discuss some of her favourite pieces that can be had with the click of a button.
What makes Contemporary Art Online interesting or different from our regular salesroom Contemporary auctions?
The Contemporary Art Online platform is a more open one – through the pages of our website, you have a wealth of information about works on offer. You have more than the space of a minute or two to enter your bid, and you can continue to revise it during the two weeks that the sale runs. There is a broad range of price points, and even the newest collectors will find something at incredibly attractive price levels to whet their interest. And who doesn’t like to shop online?
How do you recommend starting to collect?
There is no better way than plunging right in! However, generally I recommend spending a lot of time looking – at museums, galleries, auction houses – and really getting a sense of what pulls you in. I always suggest that new collectors start with a focus, even if they break with this path later. For example, it could be medium based – painting, photography, drawings, prints – or it could be more focused on style – abstraction, realism, figurative art, or even genre – landscape, still life, portraiture. This will help narrow down the immense field of offerings, and give you something to learn about. And lastly, feel free to seek advice from people you respect, whether they are curators, collectors, gallerists, or auction house specialists.
Which pieces from the sale are your favourite & why?
Bosco Sodi, Untitled [Four Works], $80,000–120,000 (Shown Above).
These are four lusciously textured works, in saturated hues of pink, red, blue, and green, which are redolent of the bright colours of his native Mexico. The works evoke the sponge paintings of Yves Klein, the materiality of Jean Dubuffet, and the chromatic intensity of Mark Rothko. The rusticity of his materials belies the complexity of the spiritual and emotional power of these canvases. And the scale is great – you can hang them anywhere! I would never tire of looking at them.
Alexander Calder, Coming Into Land. Estimate $35,000–45,000.
Calder gouaches are essential to an art collection. The present work has the spirit of all quintessential Calder gouaches: spiraling icons that mimic his early wire sculptures, primary colours including red and blue, and orbs and spontaneous impressions relating to geometric forms first explored by the artist in his sculptural practice. The work emits a joyous and uplifting quality, and it’s a timeless representation of our cosmos.
Robert Rauschenberg, Seminole Host/Roci USA (Wax Fire Works). Estimate $25,000–35,000.
This work is one of Rauschenberg's ‘wax fire works,’ a series that was made for the final Rauschenberg Overseas Culture Interchange exhibition, ROCI USA, held at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., in 1991. He used pigment-laden wax, which he fixed to his aluminum support using heat. The work has a wonderful large scale and the layering of paint on the surface in contrast to negative space in the piece gives the viewer at once a sense of great energy but also a place for contemplation. In his ROCI (pronounced “Rocky”) works, Rauschenberg traveled around the world, using his art, and collaborating with artists, as an agent of social change. This was an amazingly important project, and it would be a privilege to own a work from this initiative.
Marilyn Minter, Pink Pedi. Estimate $60,000–80,000.
Of course this is one of my favourite works; my favourite colour is pink! Pink Pedi reflects the artist’s seductive depiction of glamour, representing our culture’s complex emotions around the female body, beauty, and critical focus on the power of desire. As one of Minter’s trademarks, the present work is a close-up of women’s feet in presumable heels, kicking around in water where you can see the water droplets behind which a blurry image appears. It is a joy to watch Minter paint. She uses her fingertips, dabbing and rubbing the shiny enamel paint against the metal surface, the sound evoking the beating of a drum, or the pitter-patter of raindrops.