Arts and culture
South African art part of the David Bowie collection
A love of African artHis fondness stretched beyond post-modern outsider art – including US trailblazer Jean-Michel Basquiat and English art provocateur Damien Hirst – and influential post-war British painters such as figurative painter Frank Auerbach. Bowie also collected numerous contemporary African art pieces, including work by South African artists. He developed a great love of and enthusiasm for Africa and its artists during an extended visit to the continent in the late 1990s, which included visits to Kenya, Benin and South Africa. In an 1995 essay for Modern Painters magazine, Bowie wrote enthusiastically about his love of African art, describing the artists he met as having "only one common thread: an unquenched thirst for national- and self- understanding". A visit to a wide-ranging exhibition of African artists at the Johannesburg Biennale during this time, Bowie described "as mind-jarringly moving as any major art-thing I’ve seen, East, West or Middle, in any year". He went on to champion the continent's artists with a number of exhibitions of his ever-growing collection in New York and London, hoping to "challenge our preconceptions of otherness and establish African art as being some of the most tantalising and provocative work to be seen". Bowie presented his first solo exhibition of art influenced by his relationship with African artists in London in 1996, which included a critically acclaimed collaboration with South African artist Beezy Bailey. He had hoped that by using his influence to bring African art to an international audience, art lovers could bypass the often clichéd categorisation of African art as artefact, curio and low brow, and give it its rightful significance in the global cultural experience.
African artists in the David Bowie collectionArtists Norman Catherine, David Koloane, Peter Bongani Shange, Percy Konqobe, Willie Bester and Penny Siopis represented the continent in the Bowie collection. Following the auction, Sotherby's said that the South African art drew almost 10 times its presale estimate, setting new international records for five of the local artists.
South African Postcard II by Penny Siopis, part of the David Bowie collection image: Sotheby's pic.twitter.com/cdNIugCoBc— CD Anderson (@bizarrojerri) November 22, 2016
International pieces in the David Bowie collectionThe highest-selling item in the collection was the graffiti-inspired Air Power canvas by Basquiat, which sold for $8.9-million (R123-million).
Bowie's own 1995 collaboration with Damien Hirst, the kaleidoscopic Beautiful, Hallo Space-Boy, sold for $98,000 (R13-million).
Air Power, by Jean Michel Basquiat, part of the David Bowie collection, sold for US$8.9 million image: Sotheby's pic.twitter.com/acveeVziw0— CD Anderson (@bizarrojerri) November 22, 2016
Watch a full tour of the Sotheby's exhibition: Source: TimesLIVE SouthAfrica.info reporter Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SouthAfrica.info material
Beautiful, Hallo Space-Boy, a collaboration between Damien Hirst and David Bowie image: Sotheby's pic.twitter.com/e689BZuyDa— CD Anderson (@bizarrojerri) November 22, 2016
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