Emily Mae Smith
Emily Mae Smith (b. 1979), Profane Interloper, 2021. Oil on linen. 48 x 37 in (121.9 x 94 cm). Estimate: $50,000-70,000. Offered in Post War to Present 9 March 2021 at Christie’s in New York
Who? Brooklyn-based Emily Mae Smith (b. 1979) challenges canonical interpretations of femininity and figurative painting through a unique blend of Surrealism and Pop art. Her irresistibly glossy vignettes reimagine the female figure as a vaguely human broomstick, a riff on a traditional symbol of women's work, engaged in a variety of professional and leisure pursuits. The Whitney Museum of American Art, the Blanton Museum of Art, and The Consortium Museum count her work in their collections.
Recent exhibitions: The artist has just capped off an exhibit at the Savannah College of Art and Design Museum of Art. Her work is currently on view in Speculative Objects, at Rodolphe Janssen, through March 2021.
Who? Michigan-born and Connecticut-based Titus Kaphar (b. 1976) draws on a long history of prejudice and injustice to create bold paintings that amend history. His works blend formal and contextual qualities, often overlaying acrylic with thick layers of tar, nestling figures in bustles of burlap, and obscuring objects and figures with white paint or cutouts of the canvas itself. Kaphar’s work appears in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum, and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.
Recent exhibitions: Kaphar has garnered acclaim for his ongoing work The Jerome Project (My Loss), in which he paints gold-leaf portraits from prison mugshots before partially dipping them in thick black tar. Titus Kaphar: From a Tropical Space, at Gagosian New York, ended in December 2020.
Derrick Adams (b. 1970), Figure in the Urban Landscape 31, 2019. Acrylic, graphite, ink, fabric on paper, grip tape and model cars on wood panel. 60 x 60 in (152.4 x 152.4 cm). Estimate: $100,000-150,000. Offered in Post War to Present on 9 March 2021
Who? Baltimore-born and Brooklyn-based Derrick Adams (b. 1970) comments on both the representation and erasure of Black identities in urbane works that span painting, collage, performance and video. He completed a residency at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation in 2019; one of his paintings subsequently appeared in Beyoncé’s highly celebrated visual album Black is King. The Studio Museum in Harlem, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Pizzuti Collection include his works in their collections.
Recent exhibitions: A traveling exhibit, Derrick Adams: Buoyant,at New York’s Hudson River Museum and Florida’s Museum of Fine Art in St. Petersburg in 2020.
Jammie Holmes (b. 1984), This Week's Last Supper, 2020. Acrylic and oil pastel on canvas. 48 x 60 in (121.9 x 152.4 cm). Estimate: $40,000-60,000. Offered in Post War to Present on 9 March 2021
Who? Self-taught painter Jammie Holmes (b. 1984) was born and raised in Thibidoux, Louisiana, an upbringing that heavily influences his paintings, of everyday Black life in the South. Drawing from photographic references, memories, tradition and story-telling, Holmes’ works — from the painful to the banal to the celebratory — are imbued with a deep sense of nostalgia.
Recent exhibitions: Detroit’s Library Street Collective held Anatomy: Jammie Holmes.The artist will next be featured in group shows at Deitch Projects and Marianne Boesky Gallery.
If you like this artist you might also enjoy: Derrick Adams, Martín Ramírez
Who? Pakistani-born, New York-based artist Salman Toor (b. 1983) paints intimate tableaux portraying the experiences as young, gay brown men in South Asia and New York. ‘Through painting, I try to conjure a world where people of color are equal and proud heirs to the humanist culture that hosts the freedoms that we enjoy in urban centers in the West,’ he says. His style deftly combines painting and illustration and a lush color palette.
Recent exhibitions: Toor’s first major museum exhibit in New York, Salman Toor: How Will I Know, on now at the Whitney Museum of American Art, was described as a ‘brilliant debut’ by Roberta Smith of the New York Times. The exhibit closes April 4, 2021.
Derek Fordjour (b. 1974), No. 93, 2018. Oil pastel, charcoal, acrylic, cardboard and newspaper mounted on canvas. 30 x 24 in (76.2 x 61 cm). Sold for: $81,250 on 5 March 2020 at Christie’s in New York
Who? Derek Fordjour (b. 1974) is a New York-based interdisciplinary artist who works in painting, sculpture and video. A graduate of Hunter College, Harvard University, and Morehouse College, Fordjour is redefining contemporary portraiture with the use of quotidian materials to express a powerful African-American identity. He has gained increased attention from collectors in recent years.
Recent exhibitions: SHELTER, Fordjour’s first major solo museum exhibition opened at the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis in January 2020.
Christie’s Online Magazine delivers our best features, videos, and auction news to your inbox every week
Barry McGee (b. 1966), Untitled (LAR), 1999. Acrylic on canvas mounted on board. 9 x 8 ⅛ in (22.9 x 20.6 cm). Sold for: $6,250 on 5 March 2020 at Christie’s in New York
Barry McGee (b. 1966), Untitled (Red Head on White Background), 2000. Oil on panel. 10⅛ x 8½ in (25.7 x 21.6 cm). Sold for: $10,625 on 5 March 2020 at Christie’s in New York
Who? San Francisco native Barry McGee (b. 1966) is famed for his street art and his monikers: Ray Fong, Bernon Vernon, Twist, and P.Kin. A pioneer of the Mission School art movement, which emerged in the 1990s and is noted for use of non-traditional artistic materials, McGee fuses his signature caricature faces with dizzying verbal graphics. He gained critical and commercial acclaim after being included in the Venice Biennale and other major exhibitions. As a result, much of his street art in San Francisco has been stolen or scavenged.
Recent exhibitions: McGee enjoyed a solo show in late 2019 at Perrotin in Hong Kong and looks forward to another Perrotin show this February in Tokyo. With his fresh and funky figuration, along with blue-chip support, McGee is poised to make a splash this season.
John Sonsini (b. 1950), Fernando Guerrero, Mexico; Francisco Tambriz, Guatemala; Rocky Pivarral, Guatemala C.A.; Rogelio Taurequin (Rogelio No. 2) (Four Works), painted in 2003. Oil on canvas. Each: 20 x 16 in (50.8 x 40.6 cm). Sold for: $35,000 on 5 March 2020 at Christie’s in New York
Who? Born in New York and based in Los Angeles, John Sonsini (b. 1950) paints primarily in oils and is renowned for his portraits of knit-browed, sincere-faced immigrant workers as well as works based on gay male erotica. Using paint to bestow dignity, Sonsini invites his sitters to sign their name on the back of each canvas, furthering the artist’s insistence that each painting features an individual with a story as unique as their own handwriting.
Recent exhibitions: With a rising auction market and representation by Miles McEnery Gallery in New York, Sonsini was recently included in the National Portrait Gallery’s 2018 exhibition, The Sweat of Their Face: Portraying American Workers, propelling him to the forefront of inventive, incisive contemporary painting.
Nina Chanel Abney
Nina Chanel Abney (b. 1982), Untitled (XXX NO! COP), executed in 2014. Acrylic and spray paint on canvas. 48 x 36 in (121.9 x 91.4 cm). Sold for: $125,000 on 5 March 2020 at Christie’s in New York
Who? Chicago-born and New Jersey-based, Nina Chanel Abney (b. 1982) is an African-American artist who is celebrated for her narrative figurative paintings steeped in political discourse and pop culture. With her world auction record having been set in 2019, she has gained substantial critical and commercial recognition in the past couple of years, drawing comparisons to Haring, Matisse and Picasso.
Recent exhibitions: Abney has had numerous recent solo exhibitions, including Nina Chanel Abney: Royal Flush, a touring exhibition led by the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University; a site-specific mural at the Palais de Tokyo; and the current exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, which closes on 15 March.
Beauford Delaney (1901-1979), Untitled, 1960. Oil on canvas. 32 x 25¾ in (81 x 65.4 cm). Estimate: $80,000-120,000. Sold for: $93,750 on 5 March 2020 at Christie’s in New York
Who? A prominent figure in the Harlem Renaissance, Beauford Delaney (1901-1979) is best known for his modern depictions of New York City life as well as his abstractions made while living in Paris. All record prices for the artist at auction have been achieved in the past two years, signalling an increased market recognition and energised interest in the artist’s life and work.
Recent exhibitions: Opening this month at the Knoxville Museum of Art, Beauford Delaney and James Baldwin Through the Unusual Door features paintings, drawings and archival material that examine the relationship between these key players in the New York art and literary scene of the early 20th century, and will be on view through May 2020.