The Heat Index

Kehinde Wiley, Leigh Ledare, & Other Artists on the Rise

Kehinde Wiley, Leigh Ledare, & Other Artists on the Rise
The artist Kehinde Wiley

The fall weather may be turning cooler, but November is the month when the art market heats up to its highest degrees in New York thanks to the major contemporary art auctions at Christie's, Sotheby's, and Phillips. Ahead of the sales, Artspace combed through recent auction activity, gallery sales, and awards to highlight a few artists who seem to have market momentum on their side.

— Genre-mashing portraitist Kehinde Wiley is currying favor on both sides of the pond this fall: he opened his first solo show in the United Kingdom last month during Frieze London, showing a series of portraits of Jamaican men and women at Stephen Friedman Gallery, and also won the American Federation of Arts’s Cultural Leadership Award, presented to the artist at its annual gala in New York in October.

— Francis Bacon’s Three Studies of Lucian Freud could bring in $85 million (or much more) next month at Christie’s—an all-time high for the artist and, potentially, for auction history if it manages to surpass the $120 million that Edvard Munch's The Scream brought in last year. The last major Bacon triptych to go on the block sold to Russian mogul Roman Abramovich for $86.3 million, and that was back in 2008. 

— The reigning queen of the YBAs, Tracey Emin will debut her first American museum survey during Art Basel this December with the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami’s exhibition “Angel Without You.” The artist also set a new auction record, of $770,000, in the auction drawn from Charles Saatchi's collection at Christie’s London last month.

— Three major Norman Rockwell works, including the iconic Thanksgiving scene Saying Grace (estimated at $15 million to $20 million), will be auctioned at Sotheby’s American Art sale in December. The legendary illustrator is also the subject of Deborah Solomon’s new biography, American Mirror, hitting bookstores on November 19—meaning the artist is likely on the cusp of widespread critical reassessments, since the book will prove irresistible to journalists.

— A consummate provocateur, Leigh Ledare has been causing a stir this fall with a series of photographs depicting his mother having sex as part of The Photographers’ Gallery show “Home Truths: Motherhood and Identity” in London. But the press hasn’t seemed to do Ledare—who has shown intimate photos of his mother before at MoMA PS1 and other venues, sparking widespread queasy interest—any harm, particularly amid the news that he recently signed with the esteemed New York gallery Mitchell-Innes & Nash.

— Auction prices have been rapidly climbing for Brazilian artist Mira Schendel and, true to form, last month at Christie’s London a set of watercolors sold for $198,000, nearly twice its estimate. That might help explain why the powerhouse Swiss dealers Hauser & Wirth have signed on to manage the artist’s estate (and included her work in its current “Sensitive Geometries” show in New York).

— Two of Sol LeWitt’s “Wall Drawings” are currently on loan from the artist’s estate and Pace Gallery for a potentially key demographic: the generation of budding young art collectors who attend the tony Chelsea school Avenues.

— Canadian painter and sculptor Julia Dault, who gained attention after being included in the New Museum's "Ungovernables" triennial show,has found a new home with Marianne Boesky after her previous gallery, Harris Lieberman, closed earlier this year. 

— The 24-year-old certifiable rising star Lucien Smith expects to see a painting from his 2011 senior thesis show at Cooper Union sell for an estimated $100,000 to $150,000 at Phillips’s November contemporary art auction.

— Fresh off her recent showing at L.A.’s Hammer Museum, French installation artist Latifa Echakhchhas been awarded the Prix Marcel Duchamp, which provides the artist a €35,000 prize and funds a solo exhibition at the Pompidou Centre in Paris next year.

— YBA painter Glenn Brown had the top lot at both Christie’s and Sotheby’s contemporary sales in London—and generated an overall $10.6 million for the houses in just two days.

— Performance and installation artist Liz Magic Laser, still riding high after her acclaimed contribution to the 2011 Performa biennial and star turn as the Armory Show's 2012 commissioned artist, is now having a solo show debut at Paula Cooper Gallery—quite an impressive step for the young artist.

— Hong Kong photographerKwan Sheung Chi has won the first biannual Hugo Boss Art Asia Award, which, along with the Rockbund Art Museum, awards roughly $48,000 for an emerging Asian artist.


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