Anna Weyant - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Tuesday, November 15, 2022 | Phillips

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  • "I like to skirt it."
    —Anna Weyant

    In this cheeky work by Anna Weyant, a woman leans over, exposing her backside to the viewer. While her upper body extends out of the painting, the bottom of her titular bum curves out from below a provocatively short white miniskirt. The painting’s light source, shining in from the upper right, creates a chiaroscuro effect that further illuminates her backside, and exposes the shape of her hips underneath the front of the skirt. Sensual and surreal, Weyant brings art history and 2010s internet culture together with a dark sense of humor in Bum, 2020.

    With its reserved color palette and smooth, rounded forms, 17th century Dutch art is a natural reference point for Weyant’s œuvre. But unlike the stereotypically straightforward and dour Dutch, Weyant’s work has a sense of mystery—“a little creepiness,” as she puts it—and so, a more medieval sensibility provides the tonal cue for Bum.i Hieronymous Bosch’s creepy and chaotic The Garden of Earthly Delights, c. 1490-1500, Museo del Prado, Madrid, is a strong art historical touchpoint for Weyant’s darkly humorous nudity.


    Details from Hieronymous Bosch, The Garden of Earthly Delights, c. 1490-1500. Museo del Prado, Madrid. Images: © Museo Nacional del Prado / Art Resource, NY.

    In Bosch’s famous altarpiece triptych, naked humans indulge in silly and hedonistic pleasures in the center panel, oblivious to the suffering that awaits them in the afterlife panels in the wings. But even in hell, Bosch retains his sense of humor: his nude figures have musical notation written across their bottoms; bats and smoke spew from their behinds. The work is both repulsive and humorous, deterring and alluring at once. Weyant evokes the spirit of Bosch in Bum, but where Bosch represents 15th century Flanders, Weyant’s renderings are distinctly contemporary.
    "Tweens and being in between childhood and adulthood is definitely a period of time in my life and other people’s lives that I’m totally fascinated with and hung up on. It’s a traumatic, dramatic, devastating, and hilarious time that I go back to constantly."
    —Anna Weyant
    For anyone who, like Weyant, was a teenage girl in the early 2010s, the white miniskirt in Bum is instantly recognizable as a coveted Tumblr fashion staple: the American Apparel tennis skirt. American Apparel, a clothing brand popular in the 2000s and 2010s, was known for its provocative advertising, which featured young, barely-clothed women photographed in a casual, flashbulb style in bedroom settings.


    American Apparel advertisement for their tennis skirt style, c. 2010s.

    The combination of young models, nude bodies, and crumpled bedsheets purposefully evoked the aesthetics of amateur pornography, a connection that was not lost on critics, who expressed concern for the impact that the branding had on teenaged customers who collected and shared the company’s ads on Tumblr, a social blogging website.ii

    In 2014, an ad campaign for the very tennis skirt style Weyant evokes in Bum was banned for being “gratuitous and sexist.”iii In the photos, the faceless model bends over, exposing her underwear to the viewer, while the mini skirt, ostensibly the subject of the advertisement, is barely visible, hitched up around her waist. The visual parallels to Weyant’s Bum are striking.


    The banned American Apparel campaign image, 2014.

    In Bum, Weyant takes on the “creepiness” of American Apparel’s imagery in tandem with a respect for the “traumatic, dramatic, devastating and hilarious” teenage experience of being online.iv Where American Apparel was criticized for indulging pedophilic schoolgirl fantasies with their tennis skirt ads, Weyant cites her school uniform skirt’s colors as inspiration for her signature muted color palette.v While American Apparel had a male CEO, Weyant relates personally to being a girl and “craving the power of womanhood;” desiring the sensuality of an American Apparel ad and the “level of agency and confidence” that must come with 

    Weyant continues to explore these themes in her burgeoning contemporary practice. As for her approach? Weyant’s response is as witty as Bum: “I like to skirt it.”vii


    Collector’s Digest


    • Anna Weyant’s work has rocketed into the art market over the past year; Phillips was the first auction house to bring her work to market, at the New York Day Sale in June of 2021.


    • Her current solo exhibition at New York, Gagosian, “Baby, It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over,” November 3-December 23, 2022, is her first with the gallery.


    i Anna Weyant, interviewed by Bill Powers, “The Credible Image: An Interview of Anna Weyant on the Occasion of her Solo Exhibition Loose Screw,” Autre, March 5, 2021, online.
    ii Maria Santa Poggi, “The 2014 Tumblr Girl is Back,” Vogue, January 2, 2022, online.
    iii Louise Jack, “American Apparel’s ‘sexist’ back to school ad banned,” Campaign US, September 3, 2014, online
    iv Anna Weyant, interviewed by Sasha Bogojev, “Anna Weyant: Welcome to the Dollhouse,” Juxtapoz, 2020, online.
    v Anna Weyant, quoted in Bogojev.
    vi Anna Weyant, quoted in Powers.
    vii Anna Weyant, quoted in Bogojev.

    • Provenance

      56 Henry, New York
      Private Collection, New York
      Acquired from the above by the present owner



signed and dated "Anna Weyant 2020 ♥" on the reverse
oil on linen
48 x 30 in. (121.9 x 76.2 cm)
Painted in 2020.

Full Cataloguing

$200,000 - 300,000 

Sold for $390,600

Contact Specialist

Amanda Lo Iacono
Global Managing Director and Specialist, Head of Evening Sale, New York
+1 212 940 1278

Carolyn Mayer
Associate Specialist, Associate Head of Evening Sale, New York
+1 212 940 1206


20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York Auction 15 November 2022