🔥 Lots to Watch - 27 March 2024

Works of Alex Israel, Ulala Imai, KYNE, Jonathan Chapline and Kitti Narod

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Welcome to the 126 new subs who joined last week.

I’m excited to share 5 artists and lots worth checking out for this week.

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1) Alex Israel

Alex Israel, Wave, 2020

  • 📍 Bio: American, b. 1982

  • 📊 Price Range: $50,000 - $70,000

  • 💰 Record Price SMM: $1,025,000 for Sky Backdrop, sold at Christie's New York in 2014.

  • 🥂 Representation: Almine Rech, Gagosian

  • 🌎 Main Market: U.S.

💭 My 2 Cents: Alex Israel's "Wave" captures the essence of L.A.'s serene beauty, juxtaposed with the vibrant energy of the city's culture. With its unique use of fiberglass and gradient colors, it echoes California's iconic sunsets, offering a modern twist to the traditional landscape genre. This piece, stemming from Gagosian Hong Kong, is poised for auction with an estimate of $38,500-51,300, suggesting a conservative valuation given Israel's market trajectory. His record-breaking sale at Christie's New York in 2014 for "Sky Backdrop" at $1,025,000 underscores a significant collector interest. The geographic dispersion of his market, particularly strong in the U.S., coupled with favorable auction insights, positions "Wave" as a compelling acquisition. Notably, Israel outperforms related artists like Rachel Harrison and Sam Moyer in top lot performance, hinting at his elevated market status. A steady increase in median artwork prices and a consistent sale performance against estimates further validate his ascent.

2) Ulala Imai

Ulala Imai, Brothers, 2020

  • 📍 Bio: Japanese, b. 1982

  • 📊 Price Range SMM: $15,000 - $24,000

  • 💰 Record Price: $164,413 or Weary Traveler, sold at Christie's Shanghai in 2023.

  • 🥂 Representation: Karma, Xavier Hufkens

  • 🌎 Main Market: Japan.

💭 My 2 Cents: Ulala Imai's trajectory in the art market vividly illustrates the dynamics of contemporary art's demand and valuation. With a record price of $164,413 for "Weary Traveler" in 2023 and representation by esteemed galleries, Imai has carved a unique niche. The lot "Brothers, 2020," estimated at €11,800-17,700, bears watching for its alignment with current cute art trends and Imai's adeptness at intertwining personal narratives with broader themes. Notably, her work outperforms in secondary markets, as seen in the steady increase in median prices and estimates, underscoring collector confidence. Additionally, her strong performance against pre-sale estimates signals a robust demand. The geographic distribution of sales highlights Japan as a significant market, yet her appeal spans globally. Imai's auction insights reveal a growing trajectory, supported by a blend of high-value sales and consistent performance across various price points, making "Brothers, 2020" a compelling consideration for collectors.


KYNE, Untitled, 2019

  • 📍 Bio: Japanese, b. 1988

  • 📊 Price Range SMM: $7,000 - $11,000

  • 💰 Record Price SMM: $287,644 for for Untitled, sold at SBI Art Auction in 2021.

  • 🥂 Representation: Pinto Gallery, Toyol Gallery

  • 🌎 Main Market: Japan

💭 My 2 Cents: His unique blend of traditional Japanese nihonga and '80s pop culture delivers a refreshing take on contemporary art. His works, especially the cool, sable-haired women in monochrome, grab both eyeballs and wallets. A striking sale at $287,644 for an Untitled piece at SBI Art Auction in 2021 speaks volumes. Collaborations, notably with Takashi Murakami, have pushed the envelope further, mixing KYNE's moody aesthetics with Murakami's loud colors. Beyond just prints, KYNE explores across mediums - painting, sculpture, photography. His strategic partnership with AllRightsReserved, introducing a limited edition bronze sculpture, elevated his market presence. What stands out is KYNE's ability to maintain his artistic roots while thriving in a competitive market. This, coupled with his engagement in projects like On Air studio, underscores a dynamic yet grounded approach.

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4) Jonathan Chapline

Jonathan Chapline, Palm Springs, 2019

  • 📍 Bio: American, b. 1987

  • 📊 Price Range SMM: $30,000 - $50,000

  • 💰 Record Price: $375,369 for In Tandem, sold at de Pury in 2022.

  • 🥂 Representation: Baldwin Contemporary

  • 🌎 Main Market: Hong Kong

💭 My 2 Cents: His achievements in Hong Kong, alongside names like Joel Mesler and Javier Calleja, highlight the growing appetite for neo-surrealist and digital art forms. This trend is underscored by China's dominance in the art auction scene and Hong Kong's substantial share of these sales. Chapline's knack for blending narrative with digital creativity has not gone unnoticed, capturing the attention of top galleries and collectors worldwide. Given the buzz around AI, and the critique of systemic issues through art, Chapline is well-positioned at the intersection of innovation and traditional market appeal. His record sale and representation speak volumes, but it's the strategic embrace of digital platforms and eastern markets that could define the future trajectory of his success.

5) Kitti Narod

Kitti Narod, Diversity in the Pool, 2019

  • 📍 Bio: Thai, b. 1976

  • 📊 Price Range SMM: $12,000 - $25,000

  • 💰 Record Price: $77,656 for for The Pool, sold at Phillips Hong Kong in 2023.

  • 🥂 Representation: Tang Contemporary Art

  • 🌎 Main Market: Hong Kong

💭 My 2 Cents: His art, full of joy and warmth, talks about everyday life and how we connect with others. It's simple yet fresh, showing scenes that make you feel part of them. This style is winning fans globally, especially as the art market, especially in China, grows strong. Narod's work, going beyond usual stories about who we are, fits right in, challenging old ideas about identity and gender. With a solid education and shows around the world, he's not just another artist. His art sells for big money, and collectors can't get enough. What's cool is how his work makes you rethink norms and find beauty in the simple things.

See you next Wednesday!

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🔗 Market Stories

Art Market's Optimistic Facade: The latest Art Basel & UBS Art Market Report 2024 might paint a rosy picture, but it glosses over years of stagnation. It’s a fascinating read that offers a glass-half-full view on a market struggling to find its footing.

Hauser + Wirth’s Bold Blend: Dive into John Gapper’s analysis in the Financial Times on how Hauser + Wirth merges art with hospitality. Is it a side project, a strategic blend, or sheer business acumen? The article explores all angles, highlighting intriguing details like the Roth Bar & Grill's artistic origins and the gallery's acquisition of London's iconic Groucho Club.

The Neumann Art Saga: Beyond the Wall Street Journal’s focus on family disputes, the Neumann family's art collection saga, with its Basquiat masterpieces and salon-style displays, tells a story of passion, legacy, and conflict. It’s a tale more about art’s enduring value than familial discord.

Paris's Art Scene Renaissance: A new wave of Parisian gallerists is reshaping the city's art landscape, infusing it with fresh energy and direction. This shift marks a significant moment for Paris, heralding a new era for its art scene.

Art Basel Hong Kong's New Chapter: As Art Basel Hong Kong opens its doors, Director Angelle Siyang-Le shares insights on the fair's expanded offerings and the city’s dynamic art scene, showcasing resilience and innovation against all odds.

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