Pop x Culture, a new sale at Bonhams on 8 October in London, explores Pop, Street Art and the related art forms that swept across the world, influencing fashion, music, and youth culture.
The auction features Modern & Contemporary art, prints, entertainment memorabilia and fashion pieces, all relating to the theme of ‘pop’. Leading the sale will be Banksy’s Heavy Weaponry, 2000, which has an estimate of £250,000 – 350,000.
Head of Sale, Cassi Young, said: “Pop x Culture explores the artists, cultural figures and interlaced genres that all defined a ‘post-pop’ world – a world where art and consumer culture took to the streets. Emerging from the underground street scene of 1980s New York, the movement swept the globe, and world soon went ‘pop’. The reverberations of that explosion are still being felt, and this sale explores the bold and exciting fallout.”
Although the movement was ignited by pop heavyweights such as Andy Warhol, Robert Indiana and James Rosenquist, Pop Art moved from paintings on canvas to the street, with the emergence of graffiti art in cities around the globe from Los Angeles and New York, to London and Sao Paulo. Artists such as Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Kenny Scharf projected energy, chaos and creativity amid an expanding sub-culture, taking the streets as their canvas, stage, and playground. Their fresh ideas spilled over and merged with contemporary music and fashion, giving birth to various alternative sub-cultures, which all inspired and shaped an era.
Blurring the lines between genres, the 1980s saw the introduction of hip-hop and graffiti to American Pop Music. The song Rapture released by Blondie in released 1981, was the first American pop song to incorporate rap music – melding together two previously separate styles. The now iconic music video featured renowned graffiti artists Quiñones and Fab 5 Freddy spray painting a wall with their signature tags and designs.
The crossover between music and the visual arts was an explosive cultural force. Notable collaborations included Jamie Reid’s cut-and-paste graphics, which became a key part of the Sex Pistol’s image and of the Punk movement, while prominent New York graffiti artist FUTURA was enlisted to design posters and album covers for British Punk band The Clash in the 1980s.
Today, Urban Culture is one of the most popular movements, transcending distinct categorization, infiltrating everything from Street skate culture to high fashion. Artists such as OSGEMEOS and KAWS, who began their careers bombing streets with their bold tags and graffiti illustrations, now hold international exhibitions at major public institutions and are acknowledged as important contemporary artists. Apparel brands Nike, Supreme and Obey possess a cult-like following, rapidly selling out their highly sought-after streetwear designs and collaborations.
Writing in Bonhams Magazine, Adrian Dannatt, comments: “Warhol is crucial to street art, for introducing genuinely ‘popular’ iconography, for his abiding love of glamour, publicity, entertainment and celebrity. He was also a mentor and friend to the graffiti-generation, and his concept of the ‘Factory’, and the way in which he created and controlled his output, led to Banksy’s Pest Control and Damien Hirst’s Other Criteria…. Perhaps the political and satirical elements of street art make it less like the Pop Art that originated in North America than the varieties that followed elsewhere – a truly pan-international style, as demonstrated by the Tate’s seminal 2015 exhibition The World Goes Pop.”
Sale highlights include:
- Banksy (born 1975), Heavy Weaponry, 2000. Estimate: £250,000 – 350,000.
- Robert Indiana (1928-2018), The Book of Love, 1996. Estimate: £90,000 – 120,000.
- KAWS (American, born 1974), Untitled (Calvin Klein), 1999. Estimate: £80,000 – 120,000.
- Andy Warhol (1928-1987), Vegetable Soup, from Campbell’s Soup I, 1968. Estimate: £15,000 – 20,000.
- Red Hot Chili Peppers / Damien Hirst, A Custom-made ‘Flea’ Spin Bass Guitar, 2011. Estimate: £12,000 – 15,000.
- Nike Sky Jordan 1, Sky Jordan 1, 1985. UK 3. Estimate: £14,000 – 16,000.
- Sniffin’ Glue, A Complete Set of the Seminal Punk Fanzine, Vols. 1-12, 1976-1977. Estimate: £10,000 – 12,000.
- Keith Haring (1958-1990), Untitled 2, from Free South Africa, 1985. Estimate: £7,000 – 10,000.
- Louis Vuitton x Supreme, New York, Box Logo Hoodie, 2017, Size S. Estimate: £6,000 – 8,000.