"I think of it like a temporal collage or a physical musical composition—whether it’s video editing or writing or walking between things in space, it’s about the rhythm between the bits. " - HEATHER PHILLIPSON
For her Rhizome debut and artist profile, artist Heather Phillipson talks to Paddles ON! curator Lindsay Howard about her work, the relationship between the body and screen, metaphors, non-sequiturs, and rotten watermelons.
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"With so much critical thought around internet art, it can only become much more interesting." - MAJA CULE
Maja Cule talks to Dazed for their ‘State of Art’ series about Paddles ON!, memes, sharing economies, and her upcoming solo show at Arcadia_Missa in October.
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"I’m interested in co-opting the aesthetics of softwares and rebranding them as my own aesthetic." - MICHAEL MANNING
For their ‘State of Art’ series Dazed talks to Paddles ON! artist mirrrroring about painting, surfing (online and IRL) and David Hockney.
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ARTINFO reports on the top-selling lot from Paddles ON! London - Michael Staniak’s IMG_885 (holographic), 2014, which sold for £25K!
Meet our auctioneer!
We sat down with Phillips’s Head of Contemporary Art Day Sale and Paddles ON! auctioneer Henry Highley to talk about how he started auctioneering, his training under the legendary Simon de Pury, and his predictions for the future of the digital art market…
Jed Moch: Tell us about being an auctioneer.
Henry Highley: It’s great, is the short answer (laughs). There’s a lot of work that goes into it before the auction itself. The experience is incomparable really — being the face of the auction is incredibly exciting — it gets better each time.
JM: Does it get easier?
HH: Technically it’s easier but each sale is very different. It’s tough to predict because the feeling in a room can only be determined the night of the sale itself. The difference between a good and a bad auctioneer is the ability to make a quiet sale look very busy.
JM: Tell us about the training involved in becoming an auctioneer.
HH: I started out by bid clerking for about 3 years under Simon de Pury. I picked up the technical side, and then I started taking charity auctions to get a feel for what it was like to be in front of an audience. It’s a combination of getting the numbers down and gaining experience. Saying this, taking sales for Phillips and charity auctions are entirely different experiences.
JM: What goes into organizing a sale at Phillips?
HH: It’s about a 3 month process for getting consignments. We analyze data from previous auctions and read markets to select and review artists that are a good fit for each sale. With the younger artists, it’s about finding names where demand outweighs supply and have started trading on the secondary market, then proactively sourcing them.
JM: Do you feel as though this is a curatorial practice?
HH: Yes, to a certain extent. There are so many great artists coming through the ranks you can really try to handpick the ones you think are particularly strong and place them in a sale. For example, we’ve got a really good group of young LA-based painters that we’re excited about who are gaining momentum now. There’s a lot of young talent really, which has always been a focus for Phillips.
JM: What dictates to you that these artists are ready for the secondary market?
HH: It’s a combination of reviewing price points on the primary market and gauging the accessibility of the works in that market. If they’re hard to access on the private market and have begun trading on the secondary market privately, we then think about bringing them to auction.
JM: How do you feel about the ‘flip’ rhetoric that’s emerged surrounding these younger artists?
HH: The art market has always had speculators but in a period as buoyant as we’re seeing now, there are simply more of them. The important thing is to be aware of what’s happening and fully informed. We work alongside galleries and are sensitive to their programs. So it’s a fine balance as is the case with other any other demand-based market.
JM: How do you feel about Paddles ON! as an independent sale?
HH: It’s great. The digital art and post-Internet art movements are attracting a lot of attention right now. We’re seeing great names: Michael Manning, Michael staniak, Jonas Lund, Amalia Ulman. There’s something really brewing among so many of the artists in this space. We’re excited to have them showing alongside the Contemporary Day Sale.
JM: Would you like to see these artists become fully integrated into the contemporary program?
HH: Absolutely, you know we already have artists like Parker Ito and Petra Cortright who Paddles ON! introduced last year in New York. It could be that Paddles ON! continues to focus on the genre completely but there will undoubtedly continue to be crossover appeal. We don’t want to step on toes but would love to continue integrating the post-Internet group into our contemporary sales.
JM: Do you think post-Internet artists that are not working traditional mediums are long term market viable?
HH: I think in many ways it is comparable to performance artists or land art. A lot of the post-Internet artists follow this tendency to produce works that are less commercial but then later develop more commercial components to their practice. For example Jonas Lund - one of his really interesting projects is having people design their own pizzas online and then having them ordered and delivered. It’s a fun idea. But then he also produced 40 canvases for a show at Steve Turner Contemporary called ‘Flip City’ wherein each canvas has a GPS chip that tracks the canvas and it’s movement to illuminate all of the flipping that goes on. The work is certainly commercial but it is just one of many examples of his practice. It will be interesting to see how the movement continues to evolve. It’s an exciting time.
Don’t miss Paddles ON! London tonight at 7pm! ->
Image: Henry stands in front of Michael Staniak’s work IMG_855 (holographic) from Paddles ON!