The task of choosing most-collectible artists is even trickier than it first appears, beginning with a discussion of what the term collectible means. To some it may simply be a synonym for popular. For certain connoisseurs it may function as shorthand for aesthetic quality. When the editors of Art+Auction convened for the first time to discuss the topic several months ago, we each brought our own predilections and biases. Was this an opportunity to laud established artists who had not been given their due? Should we hitch our reputation to our favorites from the up-and- coming generation? Ultimately, this being a magazine of the art market, we decided our aim should be to identify artists who have demonstrated past strength at auction or in primary sales and show promise of continued development. We did not want to merely list the people at the top of the market, but to cite those who might find themselves there in 10, 20, or 30 years. In short, we were looking for artists whose works have room to grow aesthetically and rise in terms of monetary value.
Setting the goal was just the beginning. Conversations with collectors, art advisers, auction house specialists, and dealers followed, as we sought to track who has been selling and who has been buying, which works have been most in demand and which undervalued. Some artists we thought showed potential fell by the wayside. In other instances, the more we talked and the more we learned, the more passionate we became. The short summaries on the following pages barely scratch the surface of fascinating careers filled with ups and downs. We hope that, taken together, they portray some of the complexity of the art market. We also hope that, individually, they lead you to delve more deeply into the work of these compelling, evolving — and collectible — artists.
Abts’s standard 19-by-15-inch paintings may appear to be tightly regulated systems, but each emerges through a process of layering that is intuitive as well as precise. Intimate in size, the works have a mysterious air that has made them highly attractive to museums and private collectors. Abts won the Turner Prize in 2006, and in 2008 she had a solo show at the New Museum, in New York, where she is represented by David Zwirner. Abts’s paintings go for $120,000, and her large drawings for $20,000. That she is famously unprolific makes placement, rather than finding new collectors, a priority for her dealers.
Born in Tehran in 1975 and now living in Detroit, Ahmadi makes delicate paintings and watercolors using imagery from classical Persian miniatures and Islamic art mingled with references to contemporary social and political events in Iran and the surrounding region. Leila Heller Gallery, in New York, her exclusive representative, sold seven of her works at Art Dubai, with prices from $5,000 to $15,000. The larger paintings, like "Safe Haven," 2012, sell for as much as $45,000. Her painted oil barrels range in price from $20,000 to $25,000 and are sold out, save for one. Most of her collectors are in the Middle East and North America, though Ahmadi now has support in Europe following a 2011 exhibition at Galerie Sabine Knust, in Munich.
Born in 1981, Auerbach enjoys formidable success with both collectors and institutions, creating art with a compelling and playful point of view that is tempered by conceptual rigor. Her practice embraces painting, sculpture, and editioned work, and her pieces have performed very well at auction, regularly slaying high estimates. While a work at auction might sell for more than $75,000, at the Paula Cooper Gallery, in New York, where the artist recently signed on (her first solo there runs through June 9), unique pieces remain in the range of $40,000 to $50,000, with sculptural and editioned works starting at around $15,000.
The multicultural, multimedia practice of this Indian-born and New York–based artist has caught the attention of international collectors. “Banerjee is fully integrated in the current global art market,” says Nathalie Obadia, whose Paris gallery has represented the artist since 2005. In works on paper, Banerjee applies the exquisite detail of Indian miniature painting to fantastical scenes that blend mythological imagery from a range of cultural and historical sources. Her sculptures and installations juxtapose luxurious materials — silk, feathers, beads — with domestic castoffs suggesting colonial society. The sale of a large installation by Banerjee at Art Basel in 2008 and her solo exhibition at the Musée Guimet in Paris in 2011 were major catalysts for her European market. Prices, which have risen steadily, range from $7,000 to $50,000 for the drawings and $20,000 to $150,000 for the sculptures.
The launch of Baker’s career in the early 2000s, before she even completed her MFA at Yale, was a classic tale of white-hot demand, limited supply, and speculation. “The first show sold to well-known collectors here in Los Angeles, and we were able to place one at Yale,” says Randy Sommer, co-owner of acme gallery, in L.A., who recalls that 10-by-15-foot paintings initially sold for $40,000, while 5-by-6-foot works could be had for half that. “But as her reputation grew, we were fielding inquiries from people who, well, we had no idea who they were.” Considering such a heady start, Baker has kept a low profile since the 2010 closing of her New York gallery, Deitch Projects, taking the opportunity to explore new directions. Her large paintings have lost all remaining vestiges of figuration, and she has been making a series of 10-by-12-inch works she calls “Minums.” Her absence has done little to quiet demand, however. By the time her first show at the Suzanne Geiss Company in New York opened last month, nearly everything was sold and a waiting list was in place, despite the fact that large paintings are now going for $135,000 to $175,000. The “Minums” seem a steal at $10,000.
Florida-born and Detroit-based, Bas uses painting, sculpture, video, drawing, etching, and photography to depict a fantasy world that alternately threatens and enchants. Thanks to early support from Miami institutions and collectors, notably Donald and Mera Rubell, and representation by top galleries — Lehmann Maupin, in New York; Victoria Miro, in London; and Fredric Snitzer, in Miami — Bas is pursued by international collectors as well as high-profile businesses. (He collaborated on a design project for Louis Vuitton during last year’s Art Basel Miami Beach.) Bas’s most recent show at Lehmann Maupin — larger-than-ever paintings exploring images ofthe devil in folklore — sold out at prices from $125,000 to $150,000. His drawings and other works on paper have a devoted following as well. “Over time, the works on paper will be just as sought-after,” predicts art adviser Carmen Zita. Drawings range in price from $25,000 to $60,000. A large gouache with graphite on Masonite, depicting a boat tossed about on an ocean populated by sea monsters, holds his auction record, selling at Phillips de Pury & Company in 2008 for $175,000, in the middle of its $150,000-to-$200,000 estimate.
Chambaud creates in a wide variety of media and sizes, from small collages and other works on paper to enormous installations. ("The Encored Separation," 2011, which he set up in the Art Unlimited section of last year’s Art Basel, for instance, was a mobile measuring almost 60 feet across suspended from a 30-foot ceiling.) His prices reflect this range, starting at $3,000 and reaching $110,000. Chambaud’s works for solo shows at Bugada & Cargnel, Paris; Labor, Mexico City; and Sies + Höke, Düsseldorf, tend to be site-specific and demonstrate a conceptual tenacity. An inscrutable sensibility courses through all he does, as he plays with the notion of institutions, the politics of exhibiting art, and the act of withholding from the viewer.
Relying on outside forces — light, FedEx handlers, shredders — to shape his materials and record their movements, Beshty has become a standard-bearer in group shows with titles like “Anti-Photography.” The 2008 Whitney Biennial featured the L.A.-based conceptualist’s “travel” photographs — altered by an airport X-ray scanner — of the abandoned Iraqi Diplomatic Mission in East Berlin, along with a group of battered cubes modeled on proprietary cargo boxes (in February, one sailed to $92,400 at Phillips de Pury in London). Beshty is represented by Regen Projects, in L.A.; Wallspace, in New York; and Thomas Dane, in London, where he recently paired his original travel images with new prints from the same negatives, now hole-punched, in an edition of five and priced at $28,000. Dane’s François Chantala praises Beshty’s “very astute, self-appropriating language,” and adds, “It’s not one trick. He’s really layering them one on top of the other as part of a broader reflection of what constitutes an art object.”
After coming to prominence in the 1990s with witty watercolors satirizing gender stereotypes, Eisenman seemed to take something of a breather. But in the past year she has returned with a vengeance, showing large, vibrant oils and mono- prints that take aim at new targets while employing the same spot-on sense of humor. “For several years she wasn’t as visible, but during those years she really honed her painting skills,” says dealer Susanne Vielmetter, of Los Angeles, whose second show of the artist’s work, in the spring of 2011, offered “sarcastic takes on art history, especially the male Western painting tradition.” One of the works from that show, "Breakup," 2011, showing the head of a man reading a text on his phone, made it to the Whitney Biennial, along with a series of monoprints. Vielmetter’s show sold out, with the largest paintings of several people priced around $50,000 to $60,000, and mid-size works with single figures priced in the low $40,000s. The Art Institute of Chicago bought a 65-by-82- inch group scene for $60,000. Don’t worry about Eisenman’s disappearing again: Later this year she will be showing works on paper at Leo Koenig, in New York, and the following year she has new series planned for both Barbara Weiss, in Berlin, and Vielmetter in L.A.
Though museums began to take notice of Foulkes’s bracing brand of political, Pop-inflected paintings after he was featured in the 1969 Whitney Biennial, it took collectors longer to respond. His inclusion in two Los Angeles exhibitions — at the Museum of Contemporary Art in 2002 and the Hammer Museum in 2009 — and in last year’s Venice Biennale caught the eye of François Pinault and Adam Lindemann. Last October in New York, Andrea Rosen mounted a sold-out exhibition of seven secondary-market Foulkes paintings depicting mountainsides, each selling for approximately $250,000. Foulkes’s prices have gone up almost 500 percent since 2008, according to his longtime dealer Douglas Walla, of Kent Fine Art, in New York. A small painting from the “Bloody Head” series, the artist’s most famous (and difficult) body of work, cost $5,000 four years ago and would sell for approximately $40,000 today; larger paintings can sell for up to $1,000,000.
Few painters have been blessed with advocates as esteemed as Fueki’s: The Japanese-born, Brazil-bred artist counts Chuck Close, Kiki Smith, and Ellen Altfest among her fans. She came to prominence when her bright, dynamic paintings were featured in PS1’s “Greater New York” exhibition in 2005. Soon after, she joined Mary Boone Gallery. Her second show with the New York outfit last spring featured imaginative portraits of her friends and sold out at prices ranging from $25,000 to $35,000. (By contrast, Fueki’s drawings and works on paper can be had for as little as $2,000.) The Yale-educated artist’s paintings incorporate a pastiche of styles: She uses traditional Japanese materials such as ink wash to render very American or cosmopolitan subjects in bright, exuberant colors and patterned surfaces that recall her Brazilian upbringing.
Conceptual wizard Gander evades easy classification with a practice that varies radically from piece to piece. Alex Logsdail of Lisson Gallery, in London, states simply, “There is no typical Ryan Gander work.” While his buyers tend to have collections with a more conceptual bent, his works are aesthetically surprising in ways that attract a very broad base. Smaller editioned works start at around $16,000, while prices can reach as high as $240,000 for a full-room installation or a monumental sculpture, of which he makes very few. Gander’s works rarely come up at auction. When they do, they generally sell above the estimate. Lisson will present a solo show of Gander’s work, “The Fallout of Living,” from July 11 through August 18.
Multidisciplinary barely begins to describe Gates, who incorporates sculpture, performance, and urban planning in his practice. His large-scale works lend them- selves to museum and festival presentations, but the inveterate recycler is mindful of the array of collector tastes. When he took over the better part of Kavi Gupta’s booth at the Armory Show last March, he provided a sprawling, classroom-like installation ($150–200,000) as well as a more manageable series of concrete pillars ($35,000). His selection as the fair’s featured artist boosted his profile in the U.S.; his debut outing with White Cube in September is sure to do the same in the U.K. Gates will have a solo exhibition at Chicago MOCA in 2013.
In a well-received show at Haunch of Venison in London last year, Ghenie mingled paintings of Josef Mengele with the ubiquitous Web images he calls “Google clichés,” making evil seem somehow familiar. Indeed, much of Ghenie’s oeuvre is steeped in totalitarian dread. (The artist was barely a teenager in Romania when the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was toppled). Ghenie, who splits his time between Cluj, Romania (where he co-founded Galeria Plan B), and Berlin, burst onto the scene in the mid-2000s. “Back then, he was making very small-scale work; nothing was over 20 inches,” says Los Angeles dealer Mihai Nicodim, who presented Ghenie at the Zoo fair, in London, in 2006. The canvases were priced at $2,000, he says, and Susan and Michael Hort bought up most of the booth. Today — now that Ghenie’s work has entered the collections of SMAK Ghent, SFMOMA, UCLA’s Hammer Museum, and L.A. MOCA — a similar-size piece sells for $45,000. Larger canvases can range from $100,000 to $200,000. Just three have appeared at auction so far, and all have exceeded their estimates. Ghenie also works with Tim Van Laere, in Antwerp, and Nolan Judin, in Berlin; his move to Pace last December portends bigger things. Ghenie’s first American museum show, at the MCA Denver, opens this fall, with a solo at Pace New York set for next spring.
New York-based Gonzales makes paintings for grown-ups, testing the border between abstraction and representation in works that explore provocative themes while displaying technical virtuosity. He has been represented since the late 1990s by Paula Cooper Gallery, in New York, which will mount his next solo exhibition in 2013. Gonzales also shows with Patrick de Brock, in Knokke-Heist, Belgium, and Stephen Friedman, in London. In 2011 Gonzales had two museum solos, at the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga, in Spain. Gonzales’s track record at auction is short — his collectors are loyal — while the list of museums that own his work is long. Prices for new paintings range from $50,000 to $150,000. The more affordable gouaches on paper, with which Gonzales often develops the iconography for his paintings, can be had for $8,000 to $20,000.
Guyton came to prominence in the past decade for two discrete bodies of work: stark, mostly black-on-white abstractions that have a manufactured feel (which are sold by Friedrich Petzel), and looser, colorful work made in partnership with Kelley Walker (shown at Greene Naftali). The surprise is that collectors are drawn to both. “Collaboration used to be frowned upon as neither this nor that,” observes art adviser Wendy Cromwell. “But young artists today are super collaborative, and I like the personality the two have together.” Guyton’s many museums shows, including a midcareer survey at the Whitney opening in October, may be encouraging a spike in auction prices. At Christie’s London in April 2011, a large, single-panel painting achieved $650,000 against an estimate of $160,000-230,000 that was more in line with his primary-market prices of $120,000 for single panels up to $600,000 for multi-part installations.
At 37, South African artist Hlobo already has caught the attention of collectors at the highest level, including François Pinault and Victor Pinchuk. His monumental pieces, created with materials ranging from lace and organza to leather scraps found on the streets of Johannesburg, sell in the $250,000 range. Those who lack cavernous space can purchase a drawing for about $26,000. Hlobo’s work is often described as challenging for its themes of ethnic identity and sexuality. But, says Joost Bosland of Stevenson Gallery, of Cape Town and Johannesburg, “you’d be surprised how adventurous some ‘domestic’ collectors can be.” Hlobo’s work can be seen this summer in the Paris Triennale, through August 26, and in the Sydney Biennale, June 27 through September 16.
Over the past few years, Houseago’s work has seemed to be everywhere. Expect to see even more of it when his first show with Hauser & Wirth opens in London in September. That’s one more blue-chip outlet to add to a list that includes L&M Arts in Los Angeles, Michael Werner in New York, and Xavier Hufkens in Brussels. The broad appeal is based on Houseago’s deft tweaking of the modernist idiom, allowing the work to seem both familiar and utterly new. His auction prices have been on the rise: When a figure sold last February at Christie’s London for $247,000, it doubled the artist’s record, set just three months earlier in New York. But those sums are not so very out of line with the primary market, where his two-by-three-foot plaster masks start at $75,000 and go up and large bronze figures start around $300,000.
Alex Hubbard makes both videos and paintings (which sell for an average of $20,000 and $65,000, respectively). The duality has created a split collector base for the young artist, with paintings most often bought by private buyers and videos going more frequently to institutions, including the Guggenheim and MOMA in New York and UCLA’s Hammer Museum. A show at London’s Simon Lee Gallery in March involved “garbage paintings” made of detritus from the beach. “Each exhibition develops from the previous body of work,” says his New York dealer, Michele Maccarone, who plans to show the artist again in early 2013, “yet simultaneously signals a complete departure.”
The list of Hundley’s collectors reads like a who’s who of contemporary art: Eli Broad, Dakis Joannou, Dean Valentine, Anita Zabludowicz. Some acquired his work even before Hundley, now 37, earned his MFA at UCLA in 2005. He has become famous for massive, billboard-size collages that incorporate thousands of photographs, clippings, and other materials projecting from the surface. Hundley’s wall-size pieces range from $85,000 to $175,000; his sculptures, which also incorporate a host of materials, cost approximately $75,000. Photographs, which present saturated, off-kilter mythological tableaux, can be had for as little as $1,500, and drawings sell for under $10,000. New York dealer Andrea Rosen says it’s important to Hundley, who also shows with Regen Projects, in Los Angeles, to keep his work accessible. “Each collector at every level is significant in the evolution of an artist’s career,” Rosen says. “If you skip price points, you miss opportunities to develop an artist’s support structure.”
Matthew Day Jackson
The Brooklyn-based artist is a fetishist of what he terms the “horriful”: the potential for atrocious acts to contain transporting beauty. In 2010 Jackson occupied both venues of Peter Blum gallery, in New York, with installations, video, and wall works that touched on everything from the rise and fall of civilizations to space exploration and the artistic quest itself. The pieces in his London debut last summer at Hauser & Wirth (Grimm of Amsterdam continues to represent Jackson as well) addressed the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, among other topics. Prices for those works ranged from $12,000 for the “domestic drawings” based on Life magazine covers to nearly $1 million for the repurposed B29 cockpit, with “collector support at every level,” says the gallery’s associate director Cristopher Canizares. High-profile acquisitions (Rubell, Pinault) and a full dance card of museum shows have pushed prices in the secondary market sky-high. His auction record was set at Christie’s London in 2010 for the woodburned, mixed-media tribute portrait "Bucky," 2007, which shattered its $63,000 high estimate to fetch nearly $941,000. And according to Canizares, prices are likely to continue cruising upward as Jackson’s art matures.
South Korean artist Jung uses photography and video to create a stagelike space, often providing a sort of wish fulfillment for real-world subjects or exploring themes that grow out of common fantasies. These bittersweet works leave the viewer contemplating what might lurk beneath the veneer of the everyday. Jung is represented by Tina Kim Gallery, in New York, where his show “Inside Out” featured "Six Points," 2010, a sort of stop-motion diary of life at six locations in New York City. Such videos go for around $35,000, while his photographs (typically in editions of five) range from $8,000 to $18,000, depending on size. While auction estimates may have gotten prematurely optimistic, Jung is widely collected by institutions, with works in 20 international public collections including the Art Sonje Center, in South Korea; Japan’s Fukuoka Asian Art Museum; and the Museum of Modern Art, in New York.
One of the handful of Indian names to outlast the mid-2000s boom, Kher — who was born in London and lives and works in New Delhi — has been building a strong base of global collectors with her bindi paintings. Launched eight years ago, these works employ the dots traditionally applied to Hindu women’s foreheads in lushly patterned panels. Ranging from $120,000 for a small one to $375,000 for a large triptych, these have been quite sought-after. “Works on that level sell,” says Marc Payot, director of Hauser & Wirth New York, which has represented Kher since 2008 (along with Galerie Perrotin, in Paris, and Nature Morte, in New Delhi). Last spring, Kher’s New York solo debut showcased monumental sculptures of startling variety, and her large fiberglass elephant fetched $1.5 million at Sotheby’s London in 2010.
Best known for photography but also working with drawing, sculpture, and film, the Tel Aviv-born and Los Angeles-based Lassry has received a good amount of attention from curators as well as collectors, particularly after being tapped for the New Museum’s “Younger Than Jesus” triennial in 2009 and the 2011 Venice Biennale. His name appears on a who’s who of gallery rosters: David Kordansky, in Los Angeles; Massimo De Carlo, in Milan; White Cube, in London; and Luhring Augustine, in New York. Lassry’s photographs, which make use of commercial photography and stock images but are further complicated by his particular sense of color and custom-made frames, start at $8,000; his sculptural works and videos usually reach $15,000.
One of China’s preeminent installation artists, Lin also creates sculptures, photographs, and videos that have secured her reputation as a major figure in contemporary art. She enlists craft-based techniques and frequently uses a white-gray palette to give her works an appearance of fragility that initially disguises their questioning of gender norms. Lin’s signature material is thread. Last May, a Surrealist-inspired sculpture of a thread-wrapped clothes iron, "Bound & Unbound," more than tripled its high estimate when it brought $13,700 at Christie’s Hong Kong. Thread also appears in “Focus,” a series of large prints of hauntingly washed-out faces that have been embossed, sewn, and hole-punched. “The ‘Hand Signals’ and ‘Focus’ series have been sought after by collectors,” says Jennifer Olshin, director of Friedman Benda. “Here? or There?,”a series of photographs made with her partner, Wang Gongxin, for the 2002 Shanghai Biennial, garnered huge interest before it was purchased by the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma. Expect wider demand in the West following the debut of her solo exhibition at the Asia Society in September. A show of new work will debut in October at Galerie Lelong in New York, where she joined the stable this spring.
The Indonesian painter came to prominence in 2008, when Sotheby’s Hong Kong sold his 8-by-14-foot "Man from Bantul (The Final Round)," 2000, for a little over $1 million, more than five times the high estimate and a new auction record for a living Southeast Asian artist. Masriadi’s allegorical paintings continue to perform well at auction, buoyed by limited supply: He produces only a handful of works a year. Gajah Gallery in Singaporere remains his primary dealer; Paul Kasmin, in New York, launched its representation of Masriadi with a show in 2011.
Over the last decade, the British-born McEwen has developed a diverse conceptual practice that centers on issues of depiction and veracity. There are paintings that rework common signage (“Sorry We’re Closed” became “Fuck Off We’re Dead”), large canvases with bits of chewed gum applied in the crater patterns left after World War II bombings, and sculptures of everyday objects carved from blocks of compressed graphite. “Every work is very precise,” notes McEwen’s Brussels dealer, Rodolphe Janssen. “People don’t realize the gum paintings take months to make.” The graphite sculptures, which range in size and subject from a light bulb to a drinking fountain, may have the most enduring appeal. A few years ago they could be had for $14,000 to $58,000, but prices have doubled since then. A large wall panel sold at Art Brussels in April for $125,000, and demand is just as strong on this side of the Atlantic, where concurrent shows last fall at Gagosian in Los Angeles and Marianne Boesky, in New York, both sold out.
This L.A.-based painter describes working “decision by decision,” sorting things out directly on the canvas. Her abstractions incorporate irregular geometries, jaunty patterns, monochrome fields, lines, and drips. The writer John Yau called this heterogeneity “a quietly heretical act.” Miller is represented in L.A. by ACME, where she had her first solo show in 2006. Susan Inglett, whose gallery presented Miller’s New York debut early this year, characterizes the work as “painting that reveals itself over time, leaving behind not only clues but a desire to follow as well.” Canvases at Inglett were priced from $8,000 to $18,000 for the largest (72 by 54 inches). Collectors took home all the large works; museum curators took note.
Few contemporary artists have risen as dramatically as Mirza, a London-born artist who incorporates electronic components, furniture, and found objects in sculptures and installations that whir, hum, and glow. At 33 he won the 2010 Northern Art Prize, a training ground for the Turner Prize. He had his first solo gallery show in London, at Lisson Gallery, in early 2011, and the following June won the Silver Lion for most promising young artist at the Venice Biennale. Mirza’s ascent has been facilitated by early support from major collectors like Anita Zabludowicz as well as by guidance from Lisson, which represents him worldwide and strives to keep his market from overheating. (The task isn’t too difficult, says Lisson’s Alex Logsdail, because Mirza produces only about 10 works a year.) A small kinetic sculpture or vitrine piece goes for approximately $12,000, while room-size installations, like the one he exhibited in Venice, sell for $100,000 to $120,000.
At a 2008 Bonhams sale in Dubai, the Paris- and Tehran-based painter Moshiri became the first Middle Eastern artist to break the $1 million barrier at auction when his canvas "Eshgh (Love)," made with acrylic, Swarovski crystals, and glitter, earned $1,048,000. Moshiri’s Pop-inspired paintings have begun to appear in Western museums. He remains, however, highly sought-after among Middle Eastern and European collectors at auction and in the primary market, where his typical works average around $175,000. Since 2008 the Third Line, in Dubai; Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, in Salzburg; Paris’s Galerie Perrotin; and Galerie Rodolphe Janssen, in Brussels have all held successful solo shows of Moshiri’s work. “Fire of Joy,” featuring all new works priced from $80,000 to $400,000, opens at Perrotin on June 23.
The Japanese artist made a splash on the international fair circuit in 2004, when his Tokyo gallery, SCAI the Bathhouse, presented sculptures from his “Beads” series — objects such as toys, musical instruments, and taxidermied animals enveloped in clear spheres of varying sizes — at the Armory Show and Art Basel, selling out in short order. With fans in Asia, Europe, and North America, Nawa’s work, from delicate glue-and-resin webs to dredged-from-the-deep sculptures in spray foam, evinces a deep interest in surface and materiality. A cross-section of his work was shown in “Synthesis,” his solo at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, last summer; his "PixCell Deer #24," 2011, was acquired last year by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Depending on size, sculptures can run from a few thousand dollars to a few hundred thousand. Currently in the works is "Manifold," an outdoor sculpture nearly 50 feet high, which will be on view from September 20 at the Arario Gallery sculpture garden in Cheonan, South Korea.
Brazilian-born Nepomuceno weaves frankly beautiful sculptures and installations out of richly colored straw and beads, forming predominantly organic shapes that soar, stretch, and tumble. The Rio de Janeiro gallery A Gentil Carioca (founded by artists Márcio Botner, Laura Lima, and Ernesto Neto) provided early promotion. Her break-out year was 2010, when Nepomuceno had her first European museum solo (at Magasin 3, in Stockholm); presented her first show at Victoria Miro, in London; and appeared in a summer group show at Lehmann Maupin, in New York, where the larger of her two pieces sold on the opening day. (The smaller one quickly followed.) She’s developed a far-flung collector base in Brazil, the U.K., the U.S. (the Rubells got on board early), and India. At Miro, Nepomuceno’s smallest pieces fetch $5,000, and the largest $50,000.
Intimately scaled, idiosyncratic abstractions in oil on canvas or linen on board: This has been the heart of Nozkowski’s widely admired practice for nearly four decades. His affiliation with the powerhouse Pace Gallery in 2007 (he’s had two solo shows, and a third is planned for early next year) was a market game-changer. Recent paintings, generally formatted at 16 by 20 or 22 by 28 inches, range from $60,000 to $85,000. Works on paper — which feature Nozkowski’s amalgam of geometric and organic forms in gouache, oil, or mixed media — start at $12,000 and reach $30,000. The more budget conscious should head to the exhibition of new editions and related drawings on view through June 16 at Senior & Shopmaker, in New York. The first five prints in each edition are priced at $4,000, with a $500 hike after that. Unique working proofs, which have been drawn on and hand-colored by Nozkowski, are $18,000 framed.
Born in Santurce, Puerto Rico, in 1981, Otero had his first commercial gallery exhibition at Kavi Gupta in Chicago in 2009 and then began showing with Lehmann Maupin, in New York, last year. The latter show sold out on opening night. Otero’s distinctive technique of pouring oil paint on glass and then removing the dried “skins” for use on canvases or as part of assemblages has quickly garnered the attention of a collector base that varies widely in age but shares a view of his process as revitalizing painting. Otero’s works range from $5,000 to $30,000. Gupta had a sculptural work at this year’s Armory Show priced at $10,000.
Pfeiffer has experienced what it’s like to be in the right place at the right time — and what it’s like to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. In 2000 his videos and photographs earned acclaim in PS1’s first “Greater New York” show and at the Whitney Biennial, where he won the inaugural Bucksbaum Award. His reworking of iconic found videos, often by erasing the primary subject to leave an eerily familiar context without a focal point, seemed perfectly of the digital moment. But when he unveiled a show at Gagosian in New York in 2008, just as the market was teetering, with work that to some appeared rehashed and prices that seemed out of touch with the times, he suffered. Paula Cooper picked him up soon after and has been selling occasional pieces at fairs. She will stage his first show of new work in September. Pfeiffer’s prices now seem reasonable. Photographic multiples can be had for $40,000, while video installations range up to $150,000, depending on their complexity. His basketball-related works are the most popular — and often the most expensive — but a very few of the seminal “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” photos are still available.
Rae debuted in “Freeze,” the 1988 show organized by Damien Hirst that launched the YBAs; in short order she was tapped for the 1990 Venice Biennale and short-listed for the 1991 Turner Prize. No shooting star, Rae remains a vital, inventive painter whose abstract works — hybrids of gestural marks, cartoonlike imagery, and graphic elements — are represented by the Pace Gallery (New York, Beijing), Timothy Taylor (London), Buchmann (Berlin), and Nathalie Obadia (Paris, Brussels). Rae’s paintings are priced at $25,000 to $120,000. Works on paper can be purchased for $6,000 to $10,000.
R. H. Quaytman
That Quaytman conceives each of her exhibitions as a successive “chapter” should clue viewers in to the overarching nature of her oeuvre. For years the New York-based artist, daughter of the poet Susan Howe and the painter Harvey Quaytman, managed to fly largely under the market’s radar, showing at artist-run spaces and banking critical plaudits, until the end of 2008, when she unveiled photo-based silkscreens and abstractions on wood in “Chapter 12: iamb” at Miguel Abreu Gallery on the Lower East Side. According to Abreu, “there was an immediate reaction” from a wide swath of buyers. Her profile was further boosted by inclusion in the 2010 Whitney Biennial and the 2011 Venice Biennale. Quaytman paints in seven sizes on a fairly intimate scale that tops out near 3 feet by 5 feet; prices start at around $12,000 and go to $55,000 — up from where they started, says Abreu, but “consciously low” to encourage collectors to buy in bulk. “What’s interesting,” he says, “is that you can compose a grouping, even of works from different chapters, and it still works.” The latest, “Chapter 24,” is on view from June 3 through November 4 at the Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach, Germany.
Los Angeles-based Ross-Ho has a diverse, assemblage-oriented practice that incorporates sculpture, photography, painting, and found materials. Cherry and Martin gallery co-director Mary Leigh Cherry reports, “All of Ross-Ho’s shows have been extremely well received, with sales, press, and curatorial interest.” Works on paper start at around $5,000, with smaller, framed Sheetrock pieces selling for about $8,500. Works meant to lean against walls average around $40,000; more complex installations range from $90,000 to $200,000. Her first solo museum show opens at L.A. MOCA on June 23.
Ruby’s profile has skyrocketed over the past five years. One of his spray-painted canvases carried a $35,000-to-$45,000 estimate at Phillips de Pury in 2008; a similar work at the same house in 2011 had an estimate of $100,000 to $150,000. Both garnered six-figure prices. German-born, L.A.-based Ruby joined the Pace Gallery in 2010 and showed in its Beijing space with a solo exhibition last year. He has since left but continues to work with Sprüth Magers and Xavier Hufkens in Europe. Paintings sell for up to $500,000, but his sculptures and ceramics remain undervalued at about $60,000-123,000 and $20,000-60,000 respectively, according to art adviser Lisa Schiff.
Japan-born, London-based Sawa makes videos that look like dreams — clocks sprout legs, tiny rocking horses splash through a filled sink, and domestic spaces become places of wonder and delight. James Cohan Gallery, which first showed Sawa in 2004, has mounted several solo exhibitions in New York and Shanghai. The videos appeal to institutions — the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C., and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth among them —as well as to private collectors. Single-channel videos sell in editions of eight for $12,000 to $20,000, and multichannel installations, in editions of five, cost between $28,000 and $65,000. Sawa’s success is indicative of a larger willingness on the part of collectors to acquire video art. “Over the last year and a half, there’s been a tremendous change in how people regard video art,” says art adviser Mary Dinaburg. “It’s become a format that people see as natural to acquire, like painting and photography.” Sawa is showing a new video, Lineament, through June 17 at Shiseido Gallery in Tokyo.
Behind each of Starling’s works is a story. Photographs, videos, objects, and installations may narrate an obscure historical episode or even tell the story of the artwork’s own making. “Collectors are interested in the background and in the fact that Starling is uncovering these adventures,” says Loring Randolph of the Casey Kaplan gallery, in New York. “But regardless of the underlying story, the works have incredible impact as objects or compositions and are at times quite beautiful.” Starling’s photographs range in price from $5,000 to $75,000 and are typically printed in editions of 10; the films and sculptures are priced upwards of $40,000, and installations can reach a few hundred thousand dollars. Starling represented Scotland in the 2003 Venice Biennale and won the 2005 Turner Prize. His show at La Kunsthalle Mulhouse, in France, is on view through August 26. A solo exhibition is scheduled for Tate Britain in 2013.
Working from clippings, maps, snapshots, and the like, the Berlin-based Scheibitz transforms fragments of popular and historical imagery into eccentrically structured abstract compositions, some jazzy, others stately. Scheibitz has exhibited internationally since the late 1990s and in 2005 co-represented Germany at the Venice Biennale. In a show of new work earlier this year at New York’s Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, the smallest paintings (around 27 by 20 inches) were priced from $21,000 to $26,000. Larger works start at $90,000 and go up to $130,000. Drawings and collages range from $260 to $4,000; print editions are even more affordable. Auction prices for the early paintings have long been in the six-figure range. A solo exhibition will open in September at Frankfurt’s Museum für Moderne Kunst; a show of new paintings at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio, in mid-2013 should broaden the audience for Scheibitz’s work on this side of the Atlantic.
Thiel makes formally sophisticated and technically flawless photographs that explore the transformation of Berlin, his home since 1985. Inexplicably, his large-scale color works have been overlooked in recent surveys of contemporary German photography, but he enjoys a committed collector base in North and South America, Europe, and Asia, and he’s a steady presence in the art-fair booth of Sean Kelly, his New York dealer. New works are printed in editions of five plus two artist proofs, with smaller formats starting at about $15,000 and larger ones at $30,000. Thiel’s photographs are solid sellers at auction, with prices generally in the $10,000-to-$28,000 range, in line with his primary market. His auction record is $52,000, achieved by a 1999 photograph sold in 2010 at Phillips de Pury in London; the same print had sold at Christie’s New York in 2008 for $7,500.
This Bay Area-based artist’s practice is informed by her architectural training at UC Berkeley. Large installations like "Emergency Exit," 2007, with its concatenation of mirrors and ladders, are catnip for institutions, but it is her canvases — with complex planes and matrices that shimmer before the viewer’s eye — that have solidified a collector base in her native Turkey and in the U.S. They range from $5,000 to $200,000 on the primary market, through her longtime dealers Galeri Nev, in Ankara and Istanbul, and Paule Anglim, San Francisco. David Elliott chose her for the first Kiev Biennial, now on view in Ukraine.
Long admired, Trockel is primed to make the leap to blue-chip status later this year, when she will be the subject of three major museum exhibitions. Among them is “Rosemarie Trockel: A Cosmos,” which travels from Manhattan’s New Museum to Madrid’s Reina Sofia and juxtaposes works by the multidisciplinary artist with objects that have influenced her. The Cologne-based Trockel, who became famous in the 1980s for her knitted pictures exploring gender, politics, and sexuality, works today with found objects, paint, ceramics, and video. In light of a number of recent major exhibitions focused on women, “people are reconsidering how they look at female artists,” says art adviser Carmen Zita, noting that Trockel, who shows with Gladstone Gallery in New York, Donald Young in Chicago, and Sprüth Magers in Berlin and London, is among the most respected female artists working today. Her prices, too, are on the rise: Trockel’s auction record was set in May 2011, when Sotheby’s sold a prime knitted wool piece from 1987 for $962,500, well above the $700,000 high estimate. Smaller knitted works sell for $100,000 and above, and ceramics cost approximately $150,000.
De Wain Valentine
“His market was very quiet for 40 years. Then all of a sudden, it was like someone turned a tap on,” says Ace Gallery’s Douglas Chrismas of sculptor Valentine. Often associated with the Light and Space movement of the 1960s, Valentine is experiencing something of a renaissance thanks to his inclusion in the recent “Pacific Standard Time,” Southern California’s multi-institution initiative devoted to postwar L.A. art. According to Chrismas, “very established collectors” in both the United States and Europe are showing interest. Though the L.A. dealer estimates Valentine’s prices have doubled in the past year, they remain modest compared with those of many of his Light and Space peers: An eight-foot-wide polyester resin disk costs approximately $500,000. Smaller pieces are also gaining steam. In October 2011, Los Angeles Modern Auctions set a new record for Valentine’s work, selling a tabletop-size luminous teal disk sculpture for $32,500, well over the $5,000 high estimate.
A member of the Stars, an avant-garde collective of Chinese artists active in the early 1980s, Wang has been quietly developing an international following over the course of his 40-year career. The sculptor’s early political work rarely surfaces but commands substantial prices: "Idol," a sculpture of Mao from the 1980s, fetched a record-setting $118,200 last year at Christie’s Hong Kong. Nevertheless, according to his New York dealer, Gwenolee Zürcher, Wang’s work, now focused on the female form, tends to sell for up to 50 percent more on the primary market, where pieces range from $25,000 to $400,000.
Having had the bad fortune to attract critical notice just before the 1990s art market crash, this L.A.-based painter has maintained a slow burn that flared again last summer with a knockout group of canvases at Brennan & Griffin, in New York (co-headed by Kathryn Brennan, formerly of L.A.’s Sister gallery, who first showed Weatherford there in 2005). The Flashe-on-linen works in “Cave at Pismo” were priced between $20,000 and $30,000 and featured fragments of overlaid, translucent color that evoked precedents from Monet to Morris Louis, Maynard Dixon, and Georgia O’Keeffe. Weatherford typically works in series and often from nature — inspired by rocks, say, or tangled vines — but according to dealer James Griffin, the new pictures mark a “real turning point.” A devoted fan base of young SoCal collectors propped up her market before, he says, “but in the past year she’s started to explode.” Further exposure, including concurrent exhibitions planned for LAXart and Brennan & Griffin in September, ensures the newly established waiting list will remain long.
The collector base for Wool’s neo-Pop splatterlike flower paintings and long-standing series of stencil text paintings has grown consistently over the past two decades. Of late, his auction market has heated up, as trophy hunters who missed out in the early years try to snag an iconic work by the artist whom art adviser Wendy Cromwell calls “the de Kooning of our generation.” "Blue Fool," 1990, went for $5 million in May 2010 at Christie’s New York, and "Untitled (Fool)," also from 1990, netted $7.7 million at Christie’s London in February. Wool’s iconic text paintings are the most sought-after, with flower abstractions coming in second. The more recent, looser abstractions, from the mid-aughts, go for around $1 million on the primary market at his longtime New York dealer Luhring Augustine as well as Gagosian, but even those are becoming hard to find and tend to bring in at least double that on the secondary market. Wool’s buyers are widespread, as specialist Koji Inoue, of Christie’s New York, points out: “Pop is the universal language. Sixties Pop has done very well overseas, and I feel this neo-Pop movement will follow. Global interest is only going to increase for Wool.”
Zamora’s conceptually probing works range in scale from compact concrete sculptural objects meant to be placed in a garden to vast installations, such as his project for the 2009 Venice Biennale, which incorporated dirigibles. His works aren’t the easiest to live with — a point of pride for Pamela Echeverría of Labor, the Mexico City gallery that represents him. “I don’t work with artists who put out eye candy,” she says. Preoccupied with architectural history and the cultural issues inherent in a sense of place, Zamora makes spatially complex works that shine in the context of far-flung biennials — he created installations for four festivals last year alone. His first solo show at Labor is scheduled for 2013. The prices of his works vary greatly, with smaller sculptural pieces around $5,000 and larger installations — in accordance with materials, travel expenses, and site access — running as high as $100,000.
To see works by the 50 next most collectible artists, click the slide show.
This article appears in the June issue of Art+Auction.