Bag a bargain Chapman and boost a career

Charlotte Cripps
Friday 04 March 2011 01:00
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Art collectors can pick up a bargain in the contemporary art market next week – whilst also helping a great cause.

The Contemporary Art Society (CAS) has commissioned brand new artworks including Jake and Dinos Chapman's model sculpture with plastic figurines, My Brother Went to See Hell and All I Got Was This Lousy Souvenir Again, which will go under the hammer at the CAS's glitzy annual London auction. It hopes the Chapman brothers' contribution will fetch £15,000 to £20,000, while Gavin Turk's silkscreen on canvas Transit Disaster Beige Small and Yinka Shonibare's Toy Painting 33, are both estimated to make £8,000 to £12,000 each.

These artists were paid no more than £2,500 by the CAS to create the works. Proceeds from the auction will be used to buy new works, by emerging artists, for public collections.

"Artists are naturally generous and this unique fundraising model provides vital support for artists, galleries and museums in a time of severe government cuts," explains Paul Hobson, CAS Director. "It also enables audiences to experience the inspirational art of our times."

For more than 100 years the CAS has nurtured up-and-coming artists by spotting them early on in their careers and securing works for collections whilst they are still affordable. Damien Hirst had just left art school when the CAS purchased his first work for the Tate's collection in 1991, several years before he won the Turner Prize. It also bought first works by Picasso, Henry Moore and Francis Bacon for public collections.

"We use our curatorial eye for buying ahead of the curve," says Hobson. "Last year, we gave £1.2m-worth of modern and contemporary art to museums, which amounts to more than 8,000 works over the past century."

New artists will also have work sold in the auction. Alice Channer's Stretch Body Double is made using a roller to roll ink onto a Topshop stretch-body garment; Susan Collis's sculptural work Untitled, looks exactly like a set of carpet grips, but has been crafted from aluminium with gold leaf. Andy Holden's four bowls Pessimism of the Intellect, Optimism of the Will is created on melted gramophone records.

Shonibare says: "The Society's placement of works within public institutions is also extremely valuable patronage to artists ourselves – it allows us to continue our work, and supports our practice."

'Material World' gala auction on 9 March at Bloomsbury House, London WC1. www. contemporaryartsociety.org

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