'Aspire' sort of inspires...
People might be surprised to learn what an optimist I am. When I first heard about Aspire Art Auctions I might have grimaced thinking about the corny name (it is like calling a fashion brand Luxury) but the idea of another auction house and one that was supposed to be focussed on contemporary art flipped my skirt. This was going to be the game changer the SA art world had been waiting for; as the auction trade has thus far concentrated on historic and modern art. This has had a huge impact on the current art market; there have been few steady or reliable markers of value around the contemporary. This has impeded investment and may account for some inflated prices - there is a lot of thumbsucking going on.
When the catalogue for Aspire's first auction landed on my doorstep, I was a little disappointed to wade through Sterns, Prellers, Battisses and Pierneefs before I encountered Ed Young hanging starkers from a nail, well, his likeness in the My Gallerist Made me Do It. I'm all about The Now. People may not be flogging art they just bought. I get it. The value isn't quite there yet. It's a chicken-egg situation. It may only build slowly and I am sure the team worked their tushes off to land some hot Kentridges and a Ruga (that's Athi-Patra) or two. There are no surprising contemporary lots, except maybe the neon tube work by Dan Halter, which is not very Halterish at all.
Herewith my pick of the contemporary works on auction that I would snap up with your money - if you gave it to me (clickherefordonations).
This Young work was a bit hit at the Joburg Art Fair 2012. Every teenage girl that entered the fair left with a pic on her phone. Every art critic too. It's a goody this one; little Young appears so vulnerable in his socks with his limp dick and hanging for life off a nail. It is very Jesus-christ-cum-art-power-relations-ego stuff. Young does well at art fairs and auctions, so I expect this work might do well.