More than $78 million was realized in a 39-lot sale featuring artists and works that challenge traditional notions of commercial success
Last night in New York Bound to Fail, a curated capsule auction exploring the theme of risk and how contemporary artists have pushed boundaries, achieved $78,123,250 / £54,027,144 / €68,344,337, with sell-through rates of 97 per cent by lot and 98 per cent by value.
Maurizio Cattelan on the nature of evil
The sale was led by Maurizio Cattelan’s notorious and challenging Him, executed in 2001, which obliterated the artist’s previous record price at auction when it sold for $17,189,000 (all prices include buyer’s premium). This was followed by One Ball Total Equilibrium Tank (Spalding Dr. J Silver Series) by Jeff Koons, which realized $15,285,000.
In total, the sale established seven new world auction records for artists, and two further medium-specific records, beginning with the fourth lot of the auction, No, No, New Museum, a video piece by Bruce Nauman, which realized $1,625,000 and almost quadrupled the previous record for a video work by the artist.
Paola Pivi (b. 1971), Untitled (Donkey), 2003. Photographic print mounted on aluminum Dibond plate. Sold for $227,000 on 8 May 2016
The gravity-defying Jeff Koons
The first world auction record for an artist of the evening was Lot 12, Untitled (Donkey), a photographic print by Paola Pivi, which made $227,000 against a high estimate of $80,000. This was quickly followed by another world record with Neil Jenney’s Threat and Sanctuary (1969), which realized $965,000 — more than triple its low estimate.
Further world auction records for artists were established with Olivier Mosset’s Untitled (1969), which was bought for $137,000; Daniel Buren’s Peinture aux Formes Variables (1966), which passed its low estimate before selling for $905,000; Rebecca Horn’s Die Kleine Witwe, Schwarzer Federflügel (The Little Widow, Black Feathers), executed in 1982 and made of 22 black feathers, metal rods and a motor, which realized $118,750; and John Armleder’s Chabasite (2008), which sold for $221,000. A world auction record for a sculpture by Richard Prince was set when Anyone Can Find Me almost trebled the previous record, realizing $2,741,000.
‘The auction’s strong outcome was the result of enthusiastic bidding from a diverse group of collectors from all over the world,’ said the sale’s creator, Loic Gouzer
‘We sought to push the envelope with Bound to Fail, an auction that emphasized artists and works that challenge the traditional notions of commercial success,’ commented the sale’s creator, Loic Gouzer, Deputy Chairman, Post-War and Contemporary Art. ‘The auction’s strong outcome was the result of enthusiastic bidding from a diverse group of collectors from all over the world.
‘We were encouraged by the passionate response to works that have traditionally been overlooked or construed as challenging,’ he continued. ‘Maurizio Cattelan’s Him set a world auction record for the artist after more than five minutes of bidding. The depth of interest for this work speaks to its international notoriety, and its ability to breach the boundaries of fine art and popular culture, forcing the viewer to reconsider challenging questions about action and absolution.
‘We were also very pleased with the number of auction records that were set for artists who are less frequently seen on the auction market, including Rebecca Horn, Paola Pivi, Neil Jenney, Olivier Mosset, Daniel Buren and John Armleder.’
20th Century Week at Christie’s continues with the Post-War and Contemporary Evening Sale, which will take place on Tuesday, 10 May at 7pm.
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