18 October 2017

PRESS RELEASE

Phillips Announces AMERICAN AFRICAN AMERICAN

Selling Exhibition in November 2017 to include works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Awol Erizku, David Hammons, Kara Walker, Carrie Mae Weems, and Kehinde Wiley, among others


LONDON – 18 OCTOBER 2017 – Phillips is pleased to announce the unique upcoming selling exhibition
AMERICAN AFRICAN AMERICAN, curated by Arnold Lehman, Phillips’ Senior Advisor and Director Emeritus of the Brooklyn Museum. Examining over three decades of the increasing public presence and artistic success within the contemporary American art community, these more than two dozen African American artists bring, for the first time to London, a full spectrum of the innovation and energy that characterizes their work and articulates the reason it is so highly sought after internationally. AMERICAN AFRICAN AMERICAN, which will be on view at 30 Berkeley Square from 8 to 25 November, tells the ongoing important artistic history that picks up subsequent to the Tate Modern’s exhibition, Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power.

Arnold Lehman, said: “We are incredibly excited to be hosting this celebration of contemporary African American art at Phillips London. The exhibition presents a rare opportunity to see era-defining works of art by increasingly renowned and groundbreaking artists who already have had a major impact on contemporary art in America. Reassessing and remixing critical predecessor exhibitions early in the century, such as Freestyle at the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Rubell Family Collection’s 30 Americans, AMERICAN AFRICAN AMERICAN looks anew at the increasingly powerful signature of these artists at work during the past three decades, and presents a vibrant array of paintings, photography, and sculpture. For the conclusions presented in Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power at Tate Modern, the artists of AMERICAN AFRICAN AMERICAN offer a brilliant next chapter in the art made in the United States with new vocabulary and redefinition at every turn.”

Highlights from the Exhibition
One starring work of AMERICAN AFRICAN AMERICAN is an important painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat from 1981. Almost four decades before Basquiat became one of the highest-priced artists ever to sell at auction, and before his extraordinary current exhibition at Barbican Art Gallery, Basquiat showed a group of paintings in the 1981 exhibition at P.S.1 in New York, titled New York/New Wave. As critic Anthony Haden-Guest wrote in his 1988 Vanity Fair portrait, “…the pieces by Basquiat—who showed as Samo—were standouts. A style had suddenly fallen into place. The work is graphic, crudely drawn with oil sticks, often featuring bits of found writing—downtown street signs, whatever—and always using images at once witty and disturbing, like those used to propitiate powerful forces…” Alanna Heiss, the director of P.S.1, said, “The common reaction, which was mine, was that this was the new Rauschenberg. It was a really cliché ridden reaction, in terms of tingling, goose bumps, all the words we use all the time, but this time it was really true.”

Almost four decades later, this exhibition looks at the work of LA-based Awol Erizku, a young artist to watch. Installation, performance, photography, conceptual art and social media, especially Instagram, meld in his hands to create work that responds to the past and looks to tomorrow. Erizku’s Oh what a feeling, aw, fuck it, I want a Trillion, 2015, comes out of an insightful remix of the day it was made and, perhaps, Donald Judd’s ‘Stacks’ and Jay Z’s Picasso Baby lyrics.

Other highlights include works by Mequitta Ahuja, David Hammons, Rashid Johnson, Kara Walker, Carrie Mae Weems, and Kehinde Wiley, who recently has been chosen by former President Barack Obama to paint his official portrait for the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery.

Exhibition viewing: 8 –25 November 2017 | Monday – Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 12pm-6pm
Location: 30 Berkeley Square, London


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ABOUT PHILLIPS
Phillips is a leading global platform for buying and selling 20th and 21st century art and design. With dedicated expertise in the areas of 20th Century and Contemporary Art, Design, Photographs, Editions, Watches, and Jewelry, Phillips offers professional services and advice on all aspects of collecting. Auctions and exhibitions are held at salerooms in New York, London, Geneva, and Hong Kong, while clients are further served through representative offices based throughout Europe, the United States and Asia. Phillips also offers an online auction platform accessible anywhere in the world. In addition to providing selling and buying opportunities through auction, Phillips brokers private sales and offers assistance with appraisals, valuations, and other financial services.
Visit www.phillips.com for further information.

PRESS CONTACTS:
LONDON - Katie Carder, Press Manager, EMEA kcarder@phillips.com +44 20 7901 7938
NEW YORK - Michael Sherman, Chief Communications Officer msherman@phillips.com +1 212 940 1384

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