Video | Hammer Time: records set but reserves remain low at Christie’s post-war and contemporary art sale

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The Art Newspaper's editors break down the art market's biggest stories and spectacles, with the help of special guests. In our pilot video report series Hammer Time, our deputy art market editor Margaret Carrigan recaps the highlights of New York's billion-dollar auction week, interviews specialists and brings you live views from the salesroom.

Christies post-war and contemporary evening sale on Wednesday night started out hot with the first three lots soaring past their estimates. Yet even with four artist records realised by the end, the nights results overall were lukewarm, coming in at $279.9m ($325.3m with fees). Like the safely played Impressionist and Modern art evening sales earlier this week, there were fewer big-name estate consignments and only a couple of lots topping $20m.

Ed Ruchas visual pun word painting Hurting the Word Radio #2 (1964), leading the sale with an estimate of $30m-$40m, set a new world record for the artist when it hammered for $46m ($52.4m with fees) after some rapid bidding that lead the nights master of ceremonies Jussi Pylkkänen to question “who even needs an auctioneer”. At $8.4m ($9.8m with fees) and backed by a third-party guarantee, Ellsworth Kellys Red Curve VII proved a record-breaking amount for the hard-edge painter.

For the first time ever, works by Charles White and Alma Thomas were included in an evening sale—and both set records for the artists. Whites Banner for Willie J sold for $1m ($1.2m with fees) and Thomass A Fantastic Sunset went for at $2.2m ($2.6m with fees). Despite rising interest in and prices for works by African American artists, and the facRead More – Source