Weekend link-o-rama

Zéh Palito and Tosko

It is time for me to get a reasonable number of hours of sleep. Until I have to get up in the morning. Here’s what we didn’t get to write about on Vandalog this week:

Photo by Zéh Palito

Weekend link-o-rama

Life-side wheatpasted photograph by Erik Berglin

Expect next week’s link-o-rama to be a big one. It’s mid-term week at school. Speaking of school, I’m organizing an artist residency for young artists at my college. If you are between 18 and 24 and could use $350 to do something creative, I hope you’ll consider applying for the Haverford College Undergraduate Artist Residency. Here’s what has been going on this week off Vandalog:

Photo by Erik Berglin

Dreweatts Urban Contemporary Sale

Dreweatts is holding their next Urban Contemporary sale on Wednesday, April 6. Whilst I continue to struggle to understand why works by artists such as Lucien Freud, Russell Young and Damien Hirst are included in a sale with the aforementioned title, there are certainly a few lots that are both worth taking a look at and actually fit the sale’s theme. These include eight Banksy prints and one of his Family Target canvases from 2003 (est. 30-50k GBP),  a cool Martha Cooper photograph of Shy 147 precariously balanced between two train cars as he paints (est. 1200-1800 GBP), a haunting Guy Denning canvas (est. 3-5k GBP), a Jonathan Yeo Leaf Study (est. 4-6k GBP) and a really beautiful Adam Neate Self Portrait on cardboard (est. 8-12k GBP). The Neate is probably the highlight of the auction, at least in my opinion. It’s my birthday on Friday if a Vandalog reader out there is feeling generous. I’ll take you out for a drink next time you’re in LA to show my gratitude.

One of the more interesting aspects of this sale, however, is the final group of works, which will be auctioned in aid of Haven House Children’s Hospice. The twenty-five lots that comprise this section were curated by 15 year old, London-based Liam Patel. I don’t normally reprint press releases, but the text below sums up Liam’s endeavors fairly well so I recommend reading it. Stand-out works include those by Mantis, Herakut (pictured above), Remi/Rough and Matt Small.

Liam Patel has been collecting Urban Art since he was 12; now at the ripe old age of 15 he has brought together an extraordinary group of 25 cutting-edge lots to be sold at Dreweatts’ Urban Contemporary sale on Wednesday 6th April, to raise money for the Haven House Children’s Hospice.

Unable to do physical charity work for his Duke of Edinburgh Award because he had a broken arm and shoulder, Liam decided to ask some of his favourite artists to donate their work to raise £10,000 for the Children’s Hospice, which offers vital support to children with life-limiting conditions and their parents. Liam then approached Dreweatts to host the sale in their central London branch at 24 Maddox Street W1 and they were only too happy to help by offering the venue, and any extra expertise.

‘I came up with the idea to curate an Urban Art charity auction as the Haven House Children’s Hospice needs to raise around £2m each year to provide fantastic support for children and their families.  Even though I won’t be able to raise that amount, every little helps.’ Each piece comes with a certificate of authenticity from the artist and estimates range from £100 to £1,200.  The group to be sold for the charity includes works by the likes of Matt Small, Schoony, Handiedan, Mantis, Nick Gentry, Herakut and Arkiv Vilmansa all of whom were delighted to be able to help by donating the proceeds of their pictures.

– Elisa

Image via Dreweatts‘ Urban Contemporary catalogue.

Adam Neate at Hong Kong International Art Fair

Forward Struggle, 2010

Adam Neate has at least one painting at Hong Kong International Art Fair. His artwork will be at Schoeni Art Gallery‘s booth. The fair runs from May 26th-30th.

So far as I can remember, Neate hasn’t really shown original paintings outside of London, so this is should be an interesting next stop for his career. Hopefully the Hong Kong collectors aren’t following the results of London auctions too carefully, as a good Adam Neate painting recently went unsold at that disastrous Dreweatts Urban Contemporary auction.

Dreweatts Urban Contemporary auction

This Wednesday, Dreweatts hosts their latest urban art auction in London. This time around it’s called “Urban Contemporary.” Honestly, I’ve avoided posting about this auction until now because while there are some highlights, the lowlights are awkward and disappointing to write about.

Lets start with the positives. Some of works that I’m really liking (in no particular order):

Lot 89: Point Blank by Martin Lea Brown. 67cm x 167cm. Estimated £3,000-5,000. This painting looks okay online, but is just so nice in person.

Lot 72: Musas by Sam3. 91.5cm x 61cm. Estimated £700-900. An interesting painting for the price. It amazes me how cheap a Sam3 original can be. Though I suppose his work is best experienced outside.

Lot 64: African Fence by Rowdy. 91.5cm x 61cm. Estimated £900-1,100.

Lot 47: Studio Critics by Sweet Toof. 91.5cm x 61cm. Estimated £2,000-4,000. Sweet Toof is a painter. He’s a graffiti writer. He’s a street artist. He’s a print-maker. What is he? He’s talented.

Lot 49: Cruncy – Pity of London by Ronzo. 40cm x 40cm Plinth. 106cm x 40cm. Estimated £1,000-1,5000. Apparently this is the only Pity of London sculpture that didn’t go on the streets. So it’s something kind of special.

And now the things about this auction that epically disappoint me. The things that made me not want to write about this auction at all. In no particular order. And there are others lots in this sale that were very disappointing to see at auction, but I’m not going to list them all. Hopefully this gives you a taste.

Lot 13: Self Portrait by Adam Neate. 167cm x 123cm. Estimated £15,000-20,000. Almost everyone I know believes that Adam Neate’s pieces like these should be kept out of auction at all costs. Even if this reaches the high estimate for the piece, it will only serve to further damage the market for his paintings. And in my opinion, Adam is one of the most talented British painters working today, so I’d like to see the market for his paintings recover.

Lot 9: Morons by Banksy. 76.5cm x 56cm. Estimated £3,000-5,000. Every “urban art” auction seems to have at least one Morons print.

Lot 17: Untitled by Seen. 60cm x 70cm. Estimated £600-800. I don’t take issue with this painting. I definitely take issue with how Dreweatts has handled the artwork in their sale. In the catalog, this painting is upside down. Luckily, that’s been fixed online. But when I went to see this piece in the flesh at the auction house last Thursday, it was hung sideways. That, or it’s now sideways online (but given that the central icon of the piece is a Seen tag, I’m guessing that the tag is meant to be read left to right, so the online image is correct and it was hung sideways). Either way, that’s more than a little bit upsetting.

Lot 63: Number 5 by Herakut. 80cm x 100cm. Estimated £2,000-3,000. Another great painting that Dreweatts has just handled poorly. Again, it’s online and in the catalog sideways (and possibly hung that way in the auction-house as well, I can’t remember)! Now, given the content of the painting, I can see how somebody might not be sure which way is up. In fact, you’d have to look at the painting for more than half a second to realize that it might be sideways. How did I figure out that the piece is sideways? There’s an image of the piece online. And it was originally part of a tetraptych, so you know that the image I found online has the painting hanging the right way. Could Dreweatts have missed this? Sure. Except that lot 62 is a painting from the same tetraptych. It amazes me that nobody at Dreweatts took the 30 seconds of research that it took me to figure out which way this painting is meant to hang. Epic fail.

So that’s the Dreweatts “Urban Contemporary” auction. It takes place on Wednesday April 21st in London, and you can bid online.

Adam Neate: A New Understanding

Adam Neate

As far as I’m concerned, Adam Neate is one of the best painters of a generation. From what I’ve been hearing on and off the record, his recent solo show at Elms Lesters in London has been getting very mixed reviews. Many people are saying he is even more brilliant than before, others feel vindicated for criticizing his pricing now that the hype seems to have died down, some fans are just confused and disappointed.

I have the give the show a pretty average review myself. This was the show I was looking forward to most this year, as much as Banksy versus The Bristol Museum. And yet, in the end, it wasn’t at all what I was expecting or hoping for.

Like I said, Adam is an amazing painter, and I’d like to see anybody try and convince me that’s not true. But Adam likes to keep changing his work and challenging himself with his painting. Sounds like a good thing, but it means that this show lacks many of the element that I enjoyed so much in Adam’s older work. The ground floor of A New Understanding has paintings that, though recognizably Adam’s, progress in painterly skill but have lost the raw power of previous work.

Adam Downstairs

Now, those paintings are beautiful, they tell a story, they are well painted, but to me they are boring. Yes, in the painting on the right, Adam has stuck a real umbrella into the painting, and in both of those paintings there are very cool shadows, but that’s technically interesting and nothing else. I know people who would love to have these paintings in their homes: my contemporary art collector friends. They might be interested in these. And that’s what I thought about this entire floor. Good paintings for people who enjoy fine art and contemporary art. But not one of these paintings truly reached me and touched my soul like I expected. None of them gave me that feeling that a truly great painting is supposed to give you, and that much of Adam’s older work did give me.

But upstairs feels like a completely different show.


About half the work upstairs is something along these lines. Adam Neate is trying to create “4D” pieces that show the passage of time. Working with perspex, he has a unique way of creating lines of motion and showing blurs. It doesn’t work every time, but it does work sometimes and the development really brings his work forward.


Adam Neate

These two portraits are immediately identifiable as Adam Neate’s work, and are probably the sort of thing that people work expecting, but they also both use perspex in an innovative way to show motion. These are probably my favorite pieces in the show.

Pop Adam

And these are the lower price point paintings. These are interesting, because they are again pretty identifiable as Neate’s work, but they incorporate some of the motion elements of other pieces in A New Understanding and they use much bolder colors than most people would expect from Adam. The colors and repeated image in the paintings immediately reminded me of Warhol, not something I would have expected at this show at all, but cool nonetheless.

While A New Understanding isn’t what I had hoped for, I think the amazing thing about Neate is how quickly his work changes. It seems like every show, almost every piece, that he does is important because Adam might never do something like it again. Even within this show, there are at least 2 distinct periods of work. Also, Adam is such a talented painter that I know this is the kind of thing where even if this show doesn’t have much work to my taste, the next one might.

Just one more quick thought. It seems to me like Adam has officially crossed that invisible and ill-defined line between street/urban artist and “contemporary painter” or whatever. His old work always had a feel to it like the street was still on his mind, and the work appealed to street art collectors, but with this new show, there is no doubt that he can cross over into the more mainstream art world and gain a much more diverse collector base. This was not a street art show, it was an art show. And I don’t know if that’s a compliment, criticism or neither.

Photos by s.butterfly

Thoughts on Bonhams February Auction

Spent some time today checking out the catolog for the February 24th urban art auction at Bonhams in London. A few people have noted the extremely high number of Banksy lots (22 of 78) and dismissed this auction, but I’ve found a few potential deals to be had. If you’ve got the money to spend and you can weed through the crap, people are looking to sell some really nice work. Here’s what I’ve found:

1. Banksy – Kate Moss (series of 6)
Estimate: £100,000 – 150,000

Banksy Kate Moss

There was a time when just one of these 6 could go for £100,000. Perhaps Banksy’s most sought after print. The winner of this auction will be a very lucky man/woman in a decade. Continue reading “Thoughts on Bonhams February Auction”