Navigating your way through the contemporary art market can feel like hunting for a stunning jewelry statement piece. You can trust the tried and true at an institution like Tiffany’s - but finding something unique is rare. Or, you can spend a full day combing through Etsy- but these searches usually result in existential questions like, “Can I do better?” Finding a truly special work of art (just like a remarkable sartorial indulgence) requires bold choices, an eye for the innovative, and if you’re really lucky, an expert opinion from someone who is willing to do the grunt work for you.
It is exciting for me to see e-commerce sites like Anthem Wares encourage the same trailblazing attitude in supporting up-and-coming designers that I often see in contemporary galleries. As a gallerist working with emerging artists, I could buy Basquiat’s entire catalogue if I had a dime for every time someone asked, “Will I get a good return on my investment?”
The short answer - I don’t know for sure. And neither do you.
"The real excitement of collecting
contemporary work comes from unearthing
new talent and watching that artist’s career,
and starpower grow."
For this reason, the best guarantee is your gut and feeling assured that the piece you buy is something that thrills you, and inspires you. Having a strong connection to an artist’s work also ensures that you’ll be passionate about it in the future, and that you’ll be eager to spread the good word. Or, just think about it this way: without the patronage of Gertrude Stein, would anyone have remembered Pablo Picasso?
With an ear toward the news makers, but an eye on the rule breakers, you’ll have the most direct way to make sense of the myriad of information out there. One of the Spring’s best opportunities to see emerging talent was at the Phillips’ Under the Influence auction in London on April 11, 2013. With 180 lots in the catalogue, and a mixture of both emerging and established artists being represented, there is a lot to be impressed by. Phillips has a reputation for scouting out trends and taking bigger bets on newer artists.
That said, there are some breakout stars in the Under the Influence auction who seemed a natural fit with the independent spirit of Anthem Wares. Here are a few of the artists in the catalogue who have caught my attention - but don’t take just take my word for it, decide for yourself.