In response to the rising popularity of street art worldwide, Sotheby’s joins hand with Hong Kong Contemporary Art Foundation (HOCA) to present its first dedicated auction of street art titled “TAKE IT TO THE STREETS: Auction to benefit HOCA Foundation”, with a portion of proceeds go towards the funding of HOCA. This auction contains a range of 32 works donated by 29 international artists varying in style and media, including such established artists as Invader, Vhils, Shepard Fairey (Obey Giant) and José Parlá.
The Value talks to the spokespersons from both sides for more details about this first auction of street art.
Pauline Foessel, Director of Development at HOCA
Q: Can you tell us about HOCA Foundation?
P: HOCA Foundation stands for Hong Kong Contemporary Art Foundation. We started at the end of 2014. Our goal is to bring international and contemporary artists to Hong Kong and to give them space to work with in Hong Kong. We have many artists who haven’t entered Asia so we give them them the opportunity to open the door to Asia.
Jerkface. Pooh. Estimate: HK$50,000-70,000/ US$6,500-9,000
Q: How do street artists think of Hong Kong as a place for creating street art?
P: I think they are very inspired and surprised by Hong Kong. It is a place full of energy. We have Invader, Vhils, Shepard Fairey (Obey Giant). They have all created in the streets. Their feedbacks on Hong Kong are very positive.
Pure Evil. Marlene Dali. Estimate: HK$8,000-16,000/ US$8,000-16,000
Q: Why did HOCA foundation decide to bring street art up for sale in Hong Kong?
P: I think they are not represented enough in Hong Kong. Some of the artists, not all of them, whose works have already been in auctions and are collected on the secondary market. It is also a way to open the door and to show more than what we have been showing. I think you can see it pretty well in the exhibition. They all have their own styles. That’s why interesting in street art and urban art. Those are artists on the street doing graffiti. That’s what links them all. But they all involve in a certain way with their own styles to exhibit in galleries, museums and at auctions.
Invader. PA_1177: Alias. Estimate: HK$350,000-450,000/ US$44,900-58,000
P: Invader has been famous for his tile works in the street. He has many works in Hong Kong and he donated this piece to HOCA. We did an exhibition with him in 2015 at PMQ with Le French May so he created an alias. When he had a work on sale, he also has another piece on the street. This specific piece is now on the street in Paris.
Jasmine Chen, Sotheby’s Specialist of Contemporary Art
Q: Why does Sotheby’s present its first dedicated auction of street art?
J: We were approached by HOCA Foundation to do a charity auction for them. They mostly work with street art. It became interesting for us due to the recent rise in popularity and interest in street art in the global marketplace. Traditionally, artists make art in the streets so it was moved away from the institution and commercial world because they made art in public spaces, for the public. There is a recent phenomenon of street art being elevated to the room of fine art and a classic example of this is Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Pure Evil. Takashi Murakami's Nightmare. Estimate: HK$8,000-16,000/ US$1,050-2,100
Q: Does Sotheby’s have any plan to include street art in future auctions?
J: A big interest for us is also to see if it brings in new clients because traditionally what we usually sell is very different. We have established street artists such as Basquiat and Keith Haring which we regularly sell. However, a lot of these artists are new to the Hong Kong marketplace. Our attention is to bring attention and knowledge to the general public about these artists. If this does well, we will certainly increase more works by street artists in the future.
Alexandre Farto, aka Vhils. Matter #14. Estimate: HK$120,000-180,000/ US$15,400-23,100
Q: How do you come up with the estimates for street art works?
J: Usually, they have their primary galleries, the retail prices. But these are all new and we want to make it attractive to new buyers. With these cases, we try to lower the prices so most of them are cheaper than what you would pay for or galleries would ask if you go to them
Zevs. Liquidited Chanel White on Black. Estimate: HK$90,000-110,000
Q: Do you think it changes the meaning of street art if it becomes a private collection?
J: The technical meaning no longer means street art because they have been removed from the street. However, the intention of these artists is always the materials that they use, the way that they paint. It’s always temporary and quick.
Shepard Fairey (Obey Giant). Chinese Banner. Estimate: HK$200,000-300,000/ US$25,700-38,500
P: I don’t think it changes anything because when the artists start in the street. They don’t have the idea about money or background. But that’s not true because those artists love to work in the street. That’s part of them. But like everyone, they need to sell and eat, right? It is not a problem for street art to go into galleries. That’s actually the way it should be.
Anthony Lister. Puberty. Estimate: HK$60,000-80,000/ US$7,700-10,300
TAKE IT TO THE STREETS: Auction to benefit HOCA Foundation
Auction house: Sotheby's Hong Kong
Period: 3-8 December
3 December｜ 10am-7pm
4-8 December｜ 10am-6pm
Date: 8 December at 7.30pm
Lots offered: 32
Venue: Sotheby’s Hong Kong Gallery
Address: 5/F, One Pacific, 88 Queensway, Hong Kong
Enquiries: (852) 2822 556