- Chinese millennials splashed the cash at a Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong to pick up Simpsons-inspired art by American artist KAWS.
- One work went for $14.8 million, smashing the artist’s auction record as part of a sale by Japanese collector NIGO as part of his NIGOLDENEYE® Vol. 1 lot.
- Another KAWS piece exceeded estimates and will be bought for $2.6 million.
April Fools day was no joke for Chinese millennials keen to pick up Simpsons-inspired art for record figures.
An April 1 auction at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong saw art by American artist KAWS break the own artist’s auction figures and smash estimates with one piece, the KAWS ALBUM, going for 116 million Hong Kong dollars ($14.8 million). That was 15 times the estimate and smashed KAWS’s own record sale of $2.7 million from last November, according to Artnet News.
The piece was sold as part of a 33-item lot by Japanese collector Tomoaki Nagao, better known as NIGO, through a listing called NIGOLDENEYE® Vol. 1. KAWS ALBUM is a parody of the 1967 Beatles’ album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band cover featuring a variety of Simpsons characters replete with KAWS’s signature crosses for eyes.
Sotheby's described the piece as a "rich and complex composition [that] demonstrates the epitome of KAWS's subversive wit, prescient vision and affectionate irreverence for our times, manifesting as an iconic apotheosis of KAWS's entire artistic and cultural lexicon."
KAWS, real name Brian Donnelly, is a former street artist from the US whose work received major interest from the Hong Kong bidders. Another piece, UNTITLED (KIMPSONS #3), sold for $2.6 million and was bought by a "young Chinese buyer with a short back and sides haircut, who was wearing a green army camouflage jacket," according to Bloomberg.