Beyond auction, Phillips X with Miety Heiden, Deputy Chair at Phillips, Head of Private Sales and PhillipsX
In the first traveling exhibition for Phillips X, Foujita/Sanyu: Muses and Models went on view in both Paris and Hong Kong. Last summer, Phillips X held an exhibition in New York entitled NOMEN: American Women Artists from 1945 to Today, as well as HYSTERICAL in collaboration with set designer Gary Card in London. Earlier in 2020, 10 Monkeys and a Dolphin brought forth a sale of exceptional works by the ever popular street artists, Banksy and KAWS.
Phillips has moved beyond physical exhibitions to offer works for private sale digitally. Miety Heiden heads this new division called Phillips X which I am sure has garnered rapid success more quickly than anticipated due to the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown and is particularly timely in terms of the current situation. Whatever the circumstances, Phillips X represents an important expansion beyond auction and a new format for private sales, the online viewing room, certain to reach a global audience.
In an interview posted on the Phillips website on April 9, 2020, Miety adds:
Our clients at Phillips have been moving online for quite some time now. In our auctions, they register and bid online and we’ve seen explosive growth in the value of works sold online. Just last November, a painting by Sean Scully sold for over $1.7 million to an online bidder during our New York Evening Sale. Just as we have with our slate of exhibitions, we’ve created this platform to meet collectors where they are, year-round. We began this program with great artists such as Tracey Emin, Lucian Freud, Yayoi Kusama, KAWS and more. We’re adding new works to the online viewing room on a daily basis and, at present, they all stay online for two weeks. This is an exciting development for our team and for Phillips as a whole.
What are some of the most significant transactions you’ve made as Head of Private Sales at Phillips?
The private sales department has grown exponentially over the last few years. We have hosted a number of incredibly successful selling exhibitions since I’ve been here – our summer 2019 exhibition Hysterical, for example, was a notable example of one of these shows – a collaborative selling exhibition with renowned set designer and artist, Gary Card.
How would you describe the profile of the collector now and how has it evolved over the years?
Collectors today are far more informed about the market and what’s ‘hot’, there is more information available to them online like Artnet and The Baer Faxt which in turn makes them more autonomous. Collectors are also more mobile, traveling to art fairs, auctions and exhibitions all over the world. Collectors also tend to worry more about art being an asset and keeping its value.
What do you think of the current art market? From this vantage point it seems to have an almost surreal success with big ticket market quality artworks but a more conservative judicious approach to middle market works?
Actually the contemporary art market is entering a new territory, due to the significant growth and vibrancy of the middle market. There is an increasing focus on works of art priced at the hundreds of thousands of dollars to the lower millions. Our Day Sale totals are breaking records season after season, and we will focus on building on this in 2020. Of course the big ticket items will always have the headlines but the backstories are less rosy.
What do you think the current trends to support artists who did not get the recognition they deserved because of gender or race? How long-term do you think these trends are?
There have of course been many artists who have been overlooked across the art historic canon and into the present day, and when the art ecosystem finally shines a torchlight on these artists it can be a very positive thing, bringing new names and ideas to the table.
Stay tuned! Miety will share some of the highlights of future plans at Phillips in our next LRFA Blog post.
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