London’s art scene: The Grenfell Tower art auction and more bricks at the Tate

London’s art scene: The Grenfell Tower art auction and more bricks at the Tate

Buyers at the Grenfell Tower art auction

Tracey Emin, Loving You More (2015)

Sotheby’s raised £1.9 million last week to support victims of the Grenfell Tower tragedy. Heading the decibel count were the cheers received for competing bids on Tracey Emin’s neon sign, which spelt ‘Loving You More’ and sold for £130,000 – the highest price ever paid for one of Emin’s neon works. Dealers were in a minority, but Hugh Gibson (Thomas Gibson Fine Art) made a major contribution bidding on the top lot, a photograph by Wolfgang Tillmans, which eventually sold to a phone bidder for a double estimate £320,000 . Not to be outdone, he then paid a record £45,000 for Keith Coventry’s painting ‘Junk’ (a section of the McDonald’s logo). Other buyers in the room deserving honourable mention were KOKO Club owner, Olly Bengough; film producer Hamish McAlpine; Contemporary Art Society trustee, Cathy Wills; Arts Co UK co-founder, Sigrid Kirk, who claimed Mark Wallinger’s set of circular drawings for £16,000 , and her young daughter, Grace Wilkinson, who bought a drawing by Shirazeh Houshiary for £7,500.

Mark Wallinger, Untitled (2017) CREDIT: NICHOLAS MOSS

More bricks at the Tate

Per Kirkeby’s Bricks at the Beaux-Arts de Paris art school

What has happened to all those angry voices that complained about Tate’s acquisition of Carl Andre’s Equivalent V111 – the infamous ‘pile of bricks’ – in the Seventies? Tate has recently acquired more brick sculptures – not by Andre, but by the Danish artist, Per Kirkeby — and not a word of protest has been heard. Kirkeby is best known for his paintings; his brick sculptures, which border on the architectural, are rarely seen. But last week, the Beaux-Arts de Paris art school, opposite the Louvre, opened the first exhibition ever devoted to them which was curated by Jill Silverman van Coenegrachts and Thierry Leviez. If you ask, you will discover they can be bought for between £178,500 and £758,500 each. At Tate Modern, two tall brick steles stand majestically in the Blavatnik extension within sight of Equivalent V111. On the wall, a text states that they were bought with funds provided by the Carlsberg foundation. So for the angry critics, presumably, they’re OK so long as tax payers’ money was not spent on them, or maybe we’ve just moved on in terms of comprehending modern art.