Sotheby’s generously featured some samples from its Contemporary Arts auction taking place in Doha recently at Sotheby’s auction house in New York City.
The seven pieces of selected works give a broad look at the innovative state of contemporary art. Brazilian artist Vik Muniz’s 2013 interpretation of Claude Monet’s “Nympheas” involves classic collage style composition, but with a focus on color and emulation while effectively balancing pop culture. One could easily get lost in this piece, noticing the little clippings from the news, the Internet, and magazine they identify with. It’s convincing and fits well in the context of personal involvment. Monir Farmanfarmaian’s 2007 “A New Spring” evokes this reflective composition of cut mirror and paint in the classic geometric tendencies the artist has clung to for so many years. It’s therapeutic through its gradient density and lightness.
Worth noting is Abdullah Qandeel’s “The Race”, a Basquiat inspired work with broad reckless paint strokes and exposed raw canvas. Qandeel has repeatedly exceeded auction estimates, often by ten of times the estimate. His works are large, statement pieces that beg for attention peripherally, but are rather clean and soothing upon study. That feeling is coming from the directional tendency through easily replicable patterns, evoking a landscape of sorts, despite a nonexistent horizon. The work zooms away from the viewer towards the top of the canvas, terminating in a truly Basquiat-esque crown symbol. The demand for this to-the-trade style art seems to be reaching a tipping point- speaking of works that are tactile without being sculpture; dimensional without being realistic. It feels off the cuff, in the moment and the definition of improvisation in art. But it doesn’t feel particularly unfinished either.