Curated contemporary art auction a first for Australia

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 25th May, 2017

A new series of curated contemporary art auctions – the only one of its kind in Australia – has been introduced by Mossgreen.

The first in the series will be held from 6.30pm Sunday May 28 at its Sydney premises 36-40 Queen Street, Woollahra.

Mossgreen has teamed up with contemporary art auction consultant Melissa Loughnan to help with the sale, which includes key works created after 1970 by Australian and New Zealand contemporary artists.

The quality and integrity of the auction is ensured through a set of criteria that includes a five-year cut-off period for consignments – that is, all works are dated on or before 2012.

According to Loughnan, Mossgreen has collaborated closely with artists, dealers, collectors and consultants to establish a carefully considered, long-term approach to the series development.

“We have worked to evaluate our estimates in a move toward correcting the gap between many Australian artists’ gallery and auction values,” she says in the catalogue introduction.

The auction features key works from many of Australia’s most significant artists including Bill Henson’s important and never before offered Untitled #122, where a young adolescent couple are captured “in perfect chiaroscuro by distant city lights”.

Another work from this series holds one of Henson’s higher auction records.

Two significant video pieces from Daniel Crooks are further buyer attractions. Pan No. 2 (one step forwards, one frame backwards) is a ‘time slice’ video that blurs a city scene of skateboarders, pedestrians and traffic into a hypnotic dance-like scene.

On Perspective and Motion Part 1 (the first in a two-part series) segments and warps a busy streetscape.

David Noonan’s Untitled is a significant work from his 2008 Markus series and depicts a melancholic clown-like figure screen printed onto the artist’s signature collaged linen and jute.

Kill….2007, a Richard Bell colourful work of synthetic polymer paint on canvas that proposes vengeance for the massacre of Australia’s indigenous people is  featured on the catalogue front cover.

An important work for both the auction and artist’s oeuvre, it follows Bell’s practice of engaging in humour and activism surrounding racial politics in Australia and focuses attention on the assumptions and false narratives that exist in the country’s indigenous history.

Other artists to feature in the auction include Annette Bezor (Tension 2, 1999), Janet Laurence (Green Space III, House Hedge, Scented Rose, Tasmania, 2003), Brook Andrew (Suitcase, #1, 2007) and Gordon Bennett (Notes to Basquiat: Head, 1999).


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