Under the hammer

As most of this year’s graduates have been working hard over the past few months, putting together their final projects and then exhibiting their work around the country, it’s finally time for them to gather some pecuniary rewards.

On Friday Central St Martins College of Art & Design will be hosting an art auction of works donated by its MA fine art students as well as some big external names, such as leading Anglo-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare and sculptor Phyllida Barlow.

Auction lot by Yinka Shonibare
Auction lot by Yinka Shonibare

Auction lot by Phyllida Barlow
Auction lot by Phyllida Barlow

Barlow recently exhibited her largescale, recycled works at London’s Serpentine Gallery alongside pieces by fellow sculptor Nairy Baghramian. While Shonibare’s colourful Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle took its place on the Fourth Plinth in the capital’s Trafalgar Square and became the first Fourth Plinth commission by a black artist.

The auction, which was set up in 2002 to raise funds for the  annual students catalogue, will raise money for student activities as well as allowing curators and galleries to snap up work from international artists at a reduced prices, says Central St Martins MA Fine Art course director Joanna Greenhill.

Auction lot by Neal Rock Donation
Auction lot by Neal Rock Donation

The funds raised by the auctions, which totalled £15 000 last year, will be put towards holding the MA student show in September, producing a high-quality catalogue, supporting students projects and solo exhibitions and holding talks from high-profile artists at the university.

Auction lot by Karoly Keseru
Auction lot by Karoly Keseru

Sotheby’s head of European paintings Adrian Biddell will be conducting the auction, which will take place in the sculpture studio at 107-109 Charing Cross Road alongside an exhibition of all the work involved. 

Auction lot by James Crulley
Auction lot by James Crulley

Those with hay fever-induced twitches should probably stay at home, but if you fancy your chances against the serious collectors, the auction will be a good place to snap up work from emerging and well-known artists.

Auction lot by Ko Kawakami
Auction lot by Ko Kawakami

Our sources say that the Royal College of Art is also planning something similar, following the success of its annual secret postcard auction held in November. So there may be more chances to catch the art auction bug later in the summer.

The Central St Martins College of Art & Design MA Fine Art Auction takes place from 5.30pm – 8pm on 9 July at 107 – 109 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H.

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