Phillips has announced details surrounding the opening of its new Los Angeles outpost, the launch of which underscores the company’s commitment to the West Coast amid its continued global expansion. Open to the public from 25th-27th October, the exhibition will feature works from the upcoming auctions of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Watches, and Design, including Jean-Michel Basquiat’s To Repel Ghosts, estimated at $7-10 million.
Also on view will be two works by Ernie Barnes from the collection of Golden Globe-Nominated actor Richard Roundtree, in addition to paintings by Amy Sherald and Julie Mehretu. The gallery will be open from 10am to 5pm at 9041 Nemo Street, in the heart of Los Angeles’ art and culture scene, with an opening reception to be held on Tuesday, 25th October (RSVP required).
Jean-Michel Basquiat’s To Repel Ghosts is among the highlights of the exhibition and will be a star lot in the November Evening Sale of 20th Century & Contemporary Art. The monumental work, measuring seven feet tall, is a nearly double-life-sized portrait of Basquiat’s friend and fellow artist Jack Walls. Well known in 1980s downtown circles as Robert Mapplethorpe’s muse and romantic partner, Walls is rendered in Basquiat’s distinctive visual idiom—unmistakable by the gestural swathes of black, white, and yellow pigment—against a surface of affixed wooden boards. Basquiat’s penchant for incorporating doors and other found media into his practice first led him to experiment with timber slats for his 1984 masterwork Flexible, which employed the fencing that surrounded his Los Angeles studio. Exceedingly pleased with the resulting aesthetic effect, Basquiat soon returned to the idiosyncratic material, which he purchased from a Soho lumber yard to comprise the support of more than 17 paintings in the mid-1980s. Epitomizing his guiding principle to—quite literally—bring the urban environment into his studio, this major work from 1985 nods to Basquiat’s past as a street artist while anticipating the hallmarks of his mature style. The work belongs to a series of portraits Basquiat undertook in 1985 of Black subjects in the downtown art scene. The work’s title, To Repel Ghosts, is one of Basquiat’s most iconic phrases which has become synonymous with the artist’s declaration of his own identity.
Designed by Formation Association, Phillips Los Angeles marks the first brick and mortar space on the West Coast for the auction house, alongside an extensive network of specialists in the region, with representatives having long been in place in Seattle and San Francisco. Also included in the opening exhibition will be highlights from The New York Watch Auction: SEVEN and Design, with both auctions being held in December 2022 in New York. Phillips Los Angeles will look to engage the vibrant collecting community on the West Coast through a robust calendar of events. A new partnership with the design influencer website Sight Unseen will activate the space from the launch of the gallery onward, with works by locally based contemporary designers on view alongside the auction highlights of 20th Century & Contemporary Art and Watches. phillips.com