Monday, January 08, 2007

The Chinese are coming

Next month London will be at the centre of the world. Okay, maybe that is the centre of the art world but who likes a stickler? The event is Sotheby's Annual Contemporary Art Sale at Olympia where key international art is for sale at affordable prices (estimates start at £1,000). Alongside the usual suspects: Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, Keith Haring; there are also cutting edge, younger artists included with this year's headline act featuring three works (Bombing Middle England, Balloon Girl and Bomb Hugger) by Banksy.

I know what you are thinking: just when the allegedly non profit driven urban artist couldn't get any slicker he tricks us once again. But before you decry Banksy's fall from guerrilla grace, does all selling have to be selling out? Or is not the real issue instead whether the art retains any integrity? If Banksy made images for money that would have disgusted him to make for free, that would be selling out. Anything else is just making a living off his art, isn't it?

And, anyway, Banksy is so 2006. Everyone but Will Hutton knows that China is the future. And if the Chinese art scene can be likened to a booming stock market, Zhang Xiaogang, age 48, is its Google. As such, Xiaogang will no doubt attract much attention at Sotheby's with two prints (including the Graduate pictured here) estimated at £1,500-£2,000. The astonishing fact is there is not a single museum in the West that has committed itself to buying Chinese art. It's just starting to happen. Guggenheim, the Tate Modern, MoMA, they're all looking. Watch this space.

Sotheby's Contemporary Art Sale
Hammersmith Road, London W14 8UX
020 7293 5555
www.sothebys.com/olympia

On View: February 2 and 4-6
Sale: February 7

17 Comments:

Anonymous max said...

Hold on, that China link points to an article by Will Hutton ... on how China is *not* the future. Try this FT piece instead.

I hope some of you went to the China Power Station exhibition at Battersea Power Station. It was ace ...

5:38 pm  
Anonymous honkman said...

Will Hutton is a moron. I won't even go there on why I came to that conclusion years ago. I stopped buying the Observer because he is such a fucker.

Like this print though. As calm as water his face is, but underneath I sense great emotional turbulence. Hmmm, food for thought.

5:49 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isnt much of Chinese art just pictures of gardens? Sorry does that sound racist?

5:50 pm  
Anonymous Claire said...

The powerstation was incredible but thankfully just a beginning not an end. The exhibition is part of the Serpentine Gallery’s ongoing collaboration with the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo. China Power Station: Part I in London marked the first phase of the project. Part II will be developed for Oslo in 2007 and Part III for Beijing in 2008. The project will propose a new model for showcasing developments in Chinese art and architecture and will be updated annually from 2006 to 2008.

Well spotted topic here CS!

5:52 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a great picture. I like to think in a very literal sense, the boy portrayed is putting his best face forward - the version of himself they he wants the outside world to encounter.

Much like China itself I suppose.
Woah a bit too heavy for a Monday afternoon.
Who saw Ugly Betty?

5:58 pm  
Anonymous Ben said...

If you like Chinese art check out Cai Guo Qiang. Mind blowing stuff. Happy New Year All!

6:00 pm  
Anonymous Tanya said...

Ok Slicker I agree that Banksy is very 2006. The street based artist frontman has now moved on to Antony Micallef who is very exciting and has close associations with Banksy given that they are represented by the same agent.

6:03 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy New Year CS and all readers!

6:33 pm  
Anonymous dawnbysea said...

I am truly surprised to learn that Chinese art has been so uner wraps? Interesting. If was half the price would consider buying one of the prints. Spooky eyes got me.

6:56 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He has Mona Lisa eyes...

6:57 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: Banksy I can't understand how he has managed to stay anonymous this whole time. Does anybody?

7:25 pm  
Anonymous HeartyBowl said...

I was at the opening of Santa's Ghetto. I know exactly who he is. All I will reveal is that he is 33, white, scruffy casual - jeans, T-shirt, a silver tooth, silver chain and silver earring is the norm. He looks like a cross between Jimmy Nail and Mike Skinner of the Streets. He smokes and drinks pints of Guinness.

Anonymity is vital to him because graffiti is illegal. The day he goes public is the day the graffiti ends.

7:29 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He must be nimble to be a graffiti artist. Cool man Heartybowl. Never heard of anybody who has met Banksy.

7:31 pm  
Anonymous bigbrother said...

Let me just take this opportunity to say that banksy's work is the most trite, unoriginal shit ever created, and he's a genius only in the respect that he's sucessfully hyped otherwise worthless, effortless images to be worth millions. a person who uses photoshop, maybe illustrator if they're a real expert, to make stencils and then spray them in is as much of an 'artist' as a 12-year old with a spirograph, a tie-dye kit, or one of those sand art kits.

7:34 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please. Banksy's a sell out, but you knobs calling him unoriginal act like you've actually done something creative or worthwhile with your lives. Have any of you ever done something original? And like you wouldnt go for the cash after youd been living broke for 20 years.

7:35 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Banksy makes fantastic art for stupid people"

one of my favorite newspaper quotes

good luck to sotheby's. i would take this chinese print any day.

7:36 pm  
Anonymous drukenstaple said...

Nice London blog you have here

2:03 am  

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