Cultured Fêtes The Now Auction with Sotheby's

Yoshitomo Nara, Light Haze Days / Study, 2020. All images courtesy of Sotheby's. 

There are very few occasions at which you can sip cocktails in a gallery housing works of art worth upwards of $10 million. One such evening came about last night, as Cultured brought together an array of guests, including artists, fashion designers, cultural leaders, and friends of the magazine to toast Sotheby's The Now Evening Auction. "It’s been such a fantastic opportunity partnering with Sotheby’s to celebrate this November’s offering for The Now Auction, which presents works from some of the most important contemporary artists, many of whom—including Christina Quarles and Lucy Bull—have been in the pages of Cultured over the last few years," says Cultured's Executive Editor Joshua Glass.

An impressive array of both acclaimed and emerging artists, the sale was put together by Lucius Elliott, Head of The Now Evening Auction. “When people look back on these sales in 15, 20 years time, I want them to say, 'I can’t believe you acquired these works at the time—some of the most cutting-edge on the market, by well-established and newly canonized artists.' What’s important to me is that what we are bringing to market by these artists does represent the very best of their art,” he explains.

One of the stars of the collection is Yoshitomo Nara’s Light Haze Days / Study. The piece is a portrait of Nara’s signature doe-eyed girl, bathed in a flecked, golden light. According to Sotheby's, the painting is one of the painter’s most significant to appear at auction, and is expected to sell for upwards of $9 million. Joining Nara in the lineup is Thomas Schütte with Großer Geist Nr. 6. The sculpture of a man reaching towards the sky is an earlier iteration in the artist’s Geister series. Works from up-and-comers including Anna WeyantSalman Toor, and Louis Fratino stand beside him. 

“With The Now sale, I try to put together a capsule of what constitutes the best of what is being made now,” says Elliott. “This is a century in which we’ve seen most artists working as individuals rather than as part of a collective, which is reflective of the age as a whole. But there are trends, for instance queer artists co-opting Old Master aesthetics, be that [Vincent] Van Gogh in the case of Louis Fratino or [Andrea] Mantegna in the case of Julien Nguyen, to present queer spaces and figures. In the other room we have works by Jacqueline Humphries and Avery Singer who are using technology as a means of image production, which I think is a really interesting line of inquiry."

At Sotheby’s, guests were free to roam through the several floors of gallery space, stopping in front of one of many Warhols, or taking a selfie by Yayoi Kusama’s giant Pumpkin (M) on floor three. Amid champagne glasses and a sea of suit jackets was Elliott, flitting from guest to guest. “It’s been quite buzzy,” he remarks. “I’ve been struggling to find people who I’ve been looking for, such has been the volume of people. It’s always exciting to welcome a wave of young collectors into our galleries.”

The Now Evening Auction will take place online on November 16, 2022 at 6pm EST.